Rajasthan BSP Whip Asks Its 6 MLAs, Who Merged with Cong, to Vote for Subhash Chandra

The Rajasthan BSP on Saturday issued a whip asking six MLAs who had won as party candidates but later merged with the Congress to vote for only Independent Subhash Chandra who is in the fray for the June 10 Rajya Sabha elections. Issuing the whip, BSP state president Bhagwan Singh Baba said the six MLAs had won their seats in the 2018 state polls on BSP symbol and “are bound to work as per the party whip”.

“The BSP does not agree with the policies of the Congress and the BJP, and therefore opposes their candidates. The party has issued a whip directing the MLAs to vote for the Independent candidate,” he said, adding appropriate action will be taken if the whip is violated. Rajendra Gudha, Lakhan Meena, Deepchand Kheria, Sandeep Yadav, Joginder Awana and Wajib Ali had won the 2018 assembly elections as BSP candidates but merged the BSP legislature party with the ruling Congress in September 2019.

The BSP’s petition challenging their merger is already pending in the Supreme Court. On the legal sanctity of the whip, an expert claimed that the six MLAs are not bound to go with the whip.

“Entire MLAs of the legislative party had merged with the Congress and hence there is no role of BSP now,” the expert argued. An official of the assembly said that there was no intimation about the whip issued by the BSP party so far. “After the merger in September 2019, they are the Congress MLAs. However, the party has challenged it and the matter is subjudice,” the official said.

On the other hand, the BSP state president said that the party can issue the whip because the six had won the assembly elections in 2018 on BSP symbol. “A petition of disqualification is pending in the supreme court and it is likely to be decided soon. The merger done at the level of the MLAs in Rajasthan was illegal because the party did not merge at the national level. Therefore, they are still our MLAs and the party can issue a whip for them,” he said.

He said that is for the MLAs to follow or violate the whip and if they violate, it will make the BSP case stronger in the supreme court. One of the six MLAs Rajendra Gudha, who is a state minister, did not clarify his stand on the whip. Another MLA Wajib Ali said that whip is not valid.

“We (MLAs) believe that the whip is not valid because we are no longer members of the BSP. The assembly speaker has already approved the merger which is valid. However, it was challenged and is subjudice,” he said. Ali accused the BSP of trying to put pressure. He alleged that the party was acting as a puppet of the BJP.

The election on four seats of Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan will take place on June 10. The Congress has shifted many of its MLAs and Independents to a hotel in Udaipur in a bid to protect them from any horse trading attempt. Of the six BSP-turned-Congress MLAs, only one — Joginder Awana — is in the camp in Udaipur.

Rajendra Gudha, who is a minister of state, expressed his resentment Thursday, saying the MLAs do not get due respect in the Congress. The Congress has fielded Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Surjewala and Pramod Tiwari, while the BJP has nominated former minister Ghanshyam Tiwari and supported media baron Chandra who has filed nomination as an independent.

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