The Rajasthan High Court on Thursday issued a notice to Assembly Speaker CP Joshi and six MLAs who contested elections on Bahujan Samaj Party tickets before they merged with the Congress, ANI reported. They were given time till August 11 to submit their responses.
This came a day after the BSP filed a petition in the court against its MLAs and the Speaker’s decision to approve the merger. Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali, Deepchand Kheria, Lakhan Meena, Jogendra Awana and Rajendra Gudha won the Assembly elections in 2018 and joined the Congress in September last year.
The defection of the legislators to the Congress had been a boost for the Ashok Gehlot government’s numbers. After the rebellion by former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot along with some MLAs, the party has 107 of the 200 seats in the Rajasthan Assembly. The Bharatiya Janata Party has 72 MLAs and needs 30 more to topple the Congress government.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who had earlier represented Pilot and the 18 rebel MLAs, called the merger “illegal”, The Indian Express reported. He argued that there was no merger of the party at the national level and that the state unit cannot do so on its own.
Justice Mahendra Kumar Goyal tagged the BSP’s petition along with a separate petition filed by BJP legislator Madan Dilawar against the merger.
BSP chief Mayawati had on Tuesday said that her party could have gone to the court earlier, but she was waiting for the right time to “teach the Congress and Ashok Gehlot a lesson” for the “theft of MLAs”.