Speaker to hear disqualification plea on March 12

Speaker to hear disqualification plea on March 12

Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar has scheduled on March 12 a hearing on the petition submitted by the Congress seeking disqualification of rebel legislators Ramesh Jarkiholi, Umesh Jadhav, B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathalli.

Of the four, Jadhav resigned as a legislator and joined the BJP earlier this week.

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah moved the disqualification petition against the four legislators on February 11 when the budget session of legislature was underway.

“We will go as per law. Notices have been issued to them already, based on the disqualification petition, and they’re submitting responses,” Kumar told reporters.

Asked about Jadhav’s resignation vis-a-vis the disqualification petition, Kumar said: “I had said that I’d receive the resignation of anybody. But mere receipt of resignation is different from the resignation being accepted.” He added that he had sought ‘clarifications’ from Jadhav over his resignation. “It was the Shivaratri holiday when he submitted his resignation,” Kumar pointed out.  

Jarkiholi (Gokak), Jadhav (Chincholi), Nagendra (Bellary) and Kumathalli (Athani) are facing the prospect of disqualification under the anti-defection law as the Congress believes they indulged in anti-party activity - a charge all of them have denied.

They were said to have been in touch with the BJP as part of the saffron party’s alleged attempts to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition by engineering resignations to bring the strength of the Assembly down. It was speculated that like Jadhav, the other three would also resign.

In fact, Jarkiholi and Nagendra are rumoured to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from Chikkodi and Bellary seats, respectively. If this happens, the BJP may consider fielding for the bypoll its own candidates who lost to Jarkiholi and Nagendra in the Gokak and Bellary assembly segments in the May 2018 election.