With a close result being expected for the state elections, a heated debate is on in political circles about the status of MLAs elected from the Praja Rajyam. Will they be treated as legislators belonging to a recognised party and bound by the party whip, or will they be treated as independents because the party is not recognised, is the big question.
The debate has gained importance because of talk that main parties like the Congress and TD-led Grand Alliance could poach the party’s legislators. The Praja Rajyam is not a recognised political party as per the symbol order, though the Election Commission gave the party a common symbol for the elections. It will be recognised automatically once it secures a minimum of two seats in the Assembly and six per cent of valid polled votes in the state, which is a given.
Since the Praja Rajyam has so far not been recognised by the Election Commission, other parties are arguing that its MLAs will not be bound by the Anti-Defection Law and will be free to extending support or voting in favour of any party and should be treated on par with independent MLAs.
According to sources, there was a debate among politicians on the subject at a party held on Sunday attended by, among others, Dr K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, MP and friend of the Chief Minister, and Mr Allu Aravind, Chiranje-evi’s brother-in-law and Praja Rajyam power front.
When contacted Mr Aravind acknowledged that the debate was on. “We know both the Cong-ress and the TD are trying to create confusion among our MLAs.”
He said the party had discussed the issue with constitutional experts in Delhi. According to them, Mr Aravind said, whoever gets elected on behalf of the Praja Rajyam would be automatically treated as MLAs belonging to the party.
“The rule says whoever contests the polls on the B-form issued by a political party, whether it has got recognition or not, will automatically be treated as MLAs belonging to that party,” Mr Aravind said. “There is no ambiguity on this. We know the intentions of these old parties, but we are not afraid of them. We are going to get absolute majority.”
The Chief Electoral Officer, Dr I.V. Subba Rao, endorsed this view. “I think defections are not allowed to candidates elected on behalf of a political party and on the B-forms issued by that party,” he said. “If the whole party decides to support another party in the formation of government that is a different story, that is allowed by the law but not through defections.”
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