Andhra speaker disqualifies eight MLAs under anti-defection law | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Andhra speaker disqualifies eight MLAs under anti-defection law

By, Hyderabad
Feb 28, 2024 01:26 AM IST

The disqualification comes two weeks before the announcement of the schedule for assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh assembly speaker Tammineni Seetharam late on Monday night issued orders disqualifying eight MLAs, four each from the ruling YSR Congress Party and the opposition Telugu Desam Party, under anti-defection law, for allegedly “shifting their loyalties to other parties”.

Andhra Pradesh state assembly speaker Tammineni Sitaram. (Photo @AndhraPradeshCM)
Andhra Pradesh state assembly speaker Tammineni Sitaram. (Photo @AndhraPradeshCM)

The disqualified YSRCP MLAs are: Venkatagiri MLA Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, Tadikonda MLA Undavalli Sridevi, Nellore Rural MLA Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy, and Udayagiri MLA Mekapati Chandrasekhar Reddy.

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The four TDP MLAs who were disqualified are: Guntur West MLA Maddali Giri, Chirala MLA Karanam Balaram, Gannavaram MLA Vallabhaneni Vamsi, and Vizag West MLA Vasupalli Ganesh.

The disqualification comes two weeks before the announcement of the schedule for assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh.

In a letter sent to the eight MLAs individually, secretary general to the state legislature Dr P P K Ramacharyulu said they stood disqualified as members of the 15th Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Assembly and that their seats have fallen vacant.

The copies were sent to the Election Commission of India to enable it to notify the vacancies, people familiar with the matter said.

The disqualification of the eight MLAs was done following the petitions filed by the ruling YSRCP and the TDP to the speaker in January. While government chief whip Mudunuru Prasad Raju sought the disqualification of the four rebel MLAs alleging that they had violated the party whip and voted in favour of the TDP candidate in the legislative council elections held in March last year.

In a counter petition, TDP whip Dola Bala Veeranjaneyaswamy also submitted a petition to the speaker seeking disqualification of four TDP MLAs who switched over to the YSRCP soon after the 2019 assembly elections.

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On January 25, the speaker issued notices to the eight MLAs asking them to appear before him individually and provide an explanation for why they should not be disqualified. On March 29, the rebel YSRCP MLAs appeared before Sitaram to present their version and demanded that they should be given the proof that they had defied the party whip.

They again appeared before the speaker on February 5 and submitted their version in writing. The rebel TDP MLAs, however, did not appear before the speaker to defend themselves. Finally, after legal consultation, the speaker issued the orders disqualifying the rebel MLAs.

Constitutional expert and former Central Information Commissioner Madabhushi Sridhar said the disqualification of eight MLAs at this stage, when the state was going in for fresh elections to the assembly, has no significance.

“In any case, all the MLAs are going to be in their posts only for a few weeks. So, these eight MLAs are not going to lose anything after getting disqualified. If they want to continue to be MLAs till the last day, they can approach the court and get a stay on the speaker’s order,” Sridhar said.

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Political analyst and former lawmaker Prof K Nageshwar said the anti-defection law would not prevent the disqualified MLAs from contesting the elections again. “So, the disqualification has no impact on them at all. It is just for the sake of record,” he said.

He pointed out that the disqualification of the rebel MLAs would have had some impact in the Rajya Sabha elections, had the TDP fielded a candidate, making the contest inevitable. “But it did not take any such decision; as such, all the three YSRCP members got elected to the Rajya Sabha unopposed. As such, disqualification of the rebel MLAs had no significance,” he added.

While the four disqualified TDP members did not make any comment, rebel YSRCP MLA from Venkatagiri Anam Ramnarayana Reddy said he would consider going to the court, after consulting his lawyers. “I am yet to get an official notification from the legislative secretariat in this regard,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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