Amid furore over the merger of six BSP MLAs into the Rajasthan Congress, embattled Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has hit out at the BJP. Taking to Twitter Gehlot drew a parallel with past mergers that have been undertaken by the BJP, wondering why this particular merger was "wrong".
Six Bahujan Samaj Party had joined the Congress last year, after a 'merger' that had at the time been accepted by the Speaker. The merger of the BSP MLAs with the Congress was a boost for the Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government as the tally of the ruling party increased to 107 in the 200-member House.
More recently however, this has become a bone of contention, with the BJP claiming that since the BSP is a national party, it could not merge only at a state level. The BSP for its part had recently issued a whip to these six MLAs, telling them to vote against the Congress in case of a floor test. Terming the merger illegal, it had also refused to accept the same. "If they don't do so, their party membership will be cancelled," BSP Chief Mayawati had said.
"In Goa the BJP took 10 out of 15 Congress MLAs...four TDP MLAs in Rajya Sabha were merged with BJP. In Rajasthan six out of six BSP MLAs have created a merger of the Congress with the entire party. When the BJP is creating mergers, then how is this this merger wrong? What will you call this?" he tweeted in Hindi.
More recently, the Rajasthan High Court had issued notices to the speaker and secretary of the state legislative assembly and six MLAs, who contested elections on BSP tickets and then defected to the Congress. Separate notices have been issued on the petitions.
Advocate Dinesh Garg had moved a petition, on behalf of BSP's national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, challenging the merger of the MLAs. Notably, BJP MLA Madan Dilawar had also moved two petitions in the High Court against the merger.
The next hearing in the matter is on August 11.
(With inputs from agencies)