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Five defecting Haryana lawmakers disqualified

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Chandigarh, Oct 9 :

Just six days before the next assembly elections in Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Thursday disqualified five sitting legislators, including two ministers, from the outgoing state assembly under the anti-defection law.

The high court ruled that these five, who had defected from the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) to the Congress and claimed that they had merged their group with the Congress, had violated the provisions of the Anti-Defection Act.

The five HJC legislators were Sat Pal Sangwan, Zile Ram Sharma, Dharam Singh, Vinod Bhayana and Rao Narender Singh.

However, the ruling on the legislators has come when they are going to complete the five-year assembly term later this month.

They all had defected to the Congress in November 2009, just a month after the October assembly elections in the state. The Congress had not secured a simple majority in the 2009 and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda formed a government for a second term by roping in Independent legislators and the HJC defectors.

The Haryana assembly speaker had accepted the merger of the HJC with the Congress under the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the constitution, which allows such a merger provided it is supported by two-third strength of the legislators.

The HJC had won six seats in the assembly election and barring its president Kuldeep Bishnoi, all the other legislators had defected to the Congress saying that they had “merged” their group with the Congress.

Two of them, Sat Pal Sangwan and Narender Singh, remained cabinet ministers in the Congress-led Hooda government, holding important portfolios like health and revenue respectively. Two others, Vinod Bhayana and Zile Ram Sharma, were accommodated by Hooda as chief parliamentary secretaries (CPS).

The Congress had failed to get a simple majority in the 90-member assembly in the Oct 2009 election. It won only 40 seats (simple majority was at 46 seats). It managed to rope in seven Independent legislators to form the government, Later, the HJC legislators also defected to the Congress.

Bishnoi had challenged the order of the speaker allowing the merger of five HJC legislators with the Congress.

(IANS)