UP: Voting rights of new MLAs
If the exit polls come true, the Samajwadi Party will either have the numbers or shall be tantalizingly close to the magic figure of 202 to form a government in Uttar Pradesh. But a plethora of questions will arise in the event of the 16th House being put in suspended animation after a split verdict and no early prospects of a stable regime.
The MLAs will have to be administered oath and the assembly constituted before the imposition of Central rule. In that scenario, will the new legislators be voting in the biennial March 30 Rajya Sabha elections and Presidential polls due on July 19?
Eleven of the 58 vacancies in Parliament’s Upper House are from UP. The state also has a big share in the electoral- college for the President’s election.
“Members retain voting right even if the assembly is in suspended animation,” official sources with knowledge of the subject told HT. They said the Supreme Court upheld in the past the voting right of even a legislator who hadn’t taken oath under Article 188 of the Constitution. Assembly elections held in UP in 1996 after a spell of President’s rule had also thrown up a hung House that was placed under suspended animation on the advice of Governor Romesh Bhandari. The Centre issued two proclamations on October 17 that year: one for revocation of President’s rule imposed on October 18, 1995 (before elections) and another for imposing fresh President’s rule after elections.
It took the BSP-BJP nearly six months to form a coalition government on March 21 1997 with Mayawati as chief minister. House members voted in the interregnum for Rajya Sabha elections, the sources said. But new members would have had to wait to acquire voting rights if Mayawati had chosen to continue as CM till May 18 when the outgoing assembly completes its term. In that case, the members of the old House would’ve elected Rajya Sabha MPs from the State.
That hasn’t mercifully happened with Mayawati recommending dissolution of the 15th House. Or else the new House would’ve been an ‘assembly-in-waiting’ for over two-months post-results.
The prospects of such a logjam are remote. If she loses elections, the incumbent CM will be under tremendous “moral pressure” to quit, paving way for the new order.