Cong files plea with Speaker on rebel MLA’s resignation from Assembly

Bengaluru: The Congress’ Karnataka unit Wednesday filed an objection with the Assembly Speaker against the resignation of rebel party MLA Umesh Jadhav and requested him to defer his decision on it until the disqualification petition against him is decided. In a letter to Speaker Ramesh Kumar, the Congress said it is not permissible for Jadhav to resign as MLA, when the petition for disqualification is pending before him for consideration. ‘Kindly give an opportunity of hearing to show that the resignation is not genuine and voluntary by placing necessary materials and documents at the time of hearing,’ a letter by Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao said. The leaders said in the letter they would also request the Speaker to take up the hearing on the resignation as well as disqualification petition together or in alternative the plea having been filed much earlier, till it is decided the decision on the resignation may be deferred. The Congress also said the disqualification petition against Jadhav and the subsequent developments clearly demonstrate that he voluntarily gave up membership of the party even before tendering resignation, and has incurred disqualification under the tenth schedule of the constitution. Jadhav joined the BJP at a party rally in Kalaburagi on 6 March, two days after he quit the Assembly membership, and is tipped to take on Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge in the coming Lok Saba elections. He had on 4 March submitted his resignation from the Assembly to the Speaker. The letter said Jadhav’s stand in his objection to the disqualification petition as well as tendering resignation was contrary to each other. His conduct two days after his resignation, by announcing that he has joined the BJP, goes on to show the contents of the disqualification petition were true and correct, and resignation was not voluntary and genuine. The letter alleged that Jadhav associated with the BJP for sheer personal gain and political opportunism. It said his conduct acting in cahoots with the BJP to devise defection from within the Congress to dislodge the coalition government in the state was in total violation of the tenth schedule and breach of the party discipline. The Speaker on 8 March had said he has sought some clarification from Jadhav on his resignation. The Congress has petitioned the Speaker seeking disqualification of Jadhav along with Ramesh Jarkiholi, BNagendra and Mahesh Kumathali under the anti-defection law. The four MLAs had kept the party on tenterhooks for several weeks, defying its whip twice to attend the Congress Legislative Party meetings on 18 January and 8 February and had skipped the early part of the budget session. After the MLAs refused to fall in line, the Congress had petitioned the Speaker to disqualify them under the Anti-Defection Law. However, Jadhav along with other three MLAs had attended the session and voted in favour of the finance bill, with an intention not to violate whip and avoid any stringent action.