Congress leader Ampareen Lyngdoh submitted a petition to Speaker of the Meghalaya Assembly, Metbah Lyngdoh, seeking the disqualification of the 12 defectors who split from the party to join the Trinamool Congress.
Left with just five MLAs after 12, led by Dr Mukul Sangma, joined the TMC, the Congress is contending that there is no provision under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution allowing the dozen legislators to ditch the party they contested from in the last election and join another outfit without first having to fight a by-election.
The Congress delegation, which included advocate VGK Kynta as legal muscle, was led by state Congress president and Shillong MP Vincent Pala.
“We have filed the petition with the Speaker and are confident that the 12 will be disqualified,” Pala said.
According to him, the party has not received satisfactory responses from the defecting 12 on why they wanted to quit the Congress.
Ampareen, meanwhile, said that such a spectacle discredits the political structure of the state. The defectors had been confident that as they made up the bulk of the party there would be no obstacle under the anti-defection law from joining, or merging with, the TMC.
“We are challenging this so-called merger of the 12 Congress MLAs with the AITC (All India Trinamool Congress) because they are disallowing and disregarding the parent party that gave them the tickets to fight their respective elections,” Ampareen said. “Our petition to the Speaker is also on the ground that there are many aspects of the 10th Schedule that need to be taken into consideration before this merger is permitted.”
She added that the TMC does not appear to have any sort of structure in Meghalaya at present but the defection is being dressed up as a merger to get around the strictures placed by the 10th Schedule. “We see no parent body for them to merge with.”
Ampareen felt sure that there are thus enough grounds on which to fight for disqualification of the 12 MLAs.
Meanwhile, Kynta said that the petition has been filed under the provision of Paragraph 6 of the 10th Schedule.
“According to our legal think tank, we have a good case and a unique case and we think that this is a win-win situation for the Congress. We will not disclose our trump card but we have a good case. We centre our thoughts only on the two-thirds rule but there are other parameters in the 10th Schedule to consider their disqualification,” he added.
Congress MLA from Mawlai PT Sawkmie said that they have also requested the Speaker to convene a special session to discuss this so-called merger.
Congress MDC PN Syiem said that the congress is confident of winning the case and expressed hope that the Speaker will consider the plea.
Meanwhile, the Speaker confirmed that he had received the petition from the Congress.
“I am yet to go through all the documents and only after going through them will I be in a position to comment,” he told reporters, adding that he has not gone through the papers presented by the defecting dozen, which were submitted to him last week, either.
When asked if he has given the 12 MLAs recognition as TMC members, the Speaker said that the matter is still under examination.