Andhra Congress rebels stay away from disqualification hearing

Hyderabad, May 13 (IANS) Rebel legislators of Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Congress party Monday did not appear before assembly speaker for the hearing on the disqualification sought by their respective parties.

Some rebels faxed letters to speaker N. Manohar, urging him to disqualify them. They pointed out that they had already appeared before the speaker to submit their explanations and that it is for him to take action.

Manohar had called the nine Congress rebels to submit their explanations. Government chief whip G. Venkatramna Reddy, who appeared with his lawyer, urged the speaker to take immediate action against the rebels.

The speaker has called nine rebels of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to appear before him on Tuesday to submit their replies to the notices issued to them. However, the TDP rebels are also likely to stay.

The speaker on March 30 had issued notices to nine rebels each of Congress and TDP after the parties submitted petitions seeking their disqualification for violating party whip. The speaker had asked them to submit their replies in 14 days.

Congress had sought action against its rebels for voting in favour of no-confidence motion moved by the opposition Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) against the government in March. All nine Congress rebels have switched loyalties to YSR Congress party.

The TDP had decided to remain neutral during the voting but its nine rebels, most of them loyal to YSR Congress, backed the motion.

Two of the TDP rebels Amarnath Reddy and Praveen Kumar Reddy told reporters Monday that they need not appear before the speaker to submit their explanations and hence sent letters, urging him to disqualify them.

They said the speaker should take action to facilitate early by-elections. The legislators also accused Congress and TDP of colluding with each other to hatch a conspiracy against them.

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