Bengaluru: JD(S) rebels’ dagger hangs over B M Farooq

BENGALURU: Will they be allowed to vote or not? With two days to go for elections to fill four vacancies in the Rajya Sabha, Justice Raghavendra Chauhan of the high court on Wednesday issued a notice to Speaker KB Koliwad while hearing a petition filed by two JD (S) legislators, seeking directions for disqualification of seven rebel MLAs under the Anti Defection Act.

Justice Chauhan will continue hearing the petition on Thursday. The votes of the seven rebels could make all the difference between victory and defeat of the JD(S) candidate B.M. Farooq. Voting will happen for four RS seats on Friday with five candidates in the fray including three of the Congress, and one each of the BJP and JD(S).

Legislators BN Balakrishna and BB Ningaiah had made an interim prayer, seeking directions to Mr Koliwad not to permit the seven legislators – BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, N Cheluvarayaswamy, AB Ramesh Bandisiddegowda, HC Balakrishna, Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy R, Iqbal Ansari and S Bheema Naik – to vote  on March 23. The duo had moved the court for directions to these seven legislators to demit office as MLAs, and to Speaker Mr Koliwad to disqualify them on the grounds that they violated the party whip and voted against JD (S) candidate BM Farooq during Rajya Sabha polls held on June 11, 2016.

On Wednesday, the judge orally observed that the court could only request the Speaker to expedite the decision on disqualification of these seven rebel legislators preferably by April 30. The judge also felt that proper procedure should be followed by the authority concerned, before pronouncing a decision on disqualification of legislators.

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