BSP has issued a whip asking six MLAs of Rajasthan who won the 2016 elections, to vote against the Ashok Gehlot government in the assembly. As per the roster of party-wise strength in the Rajasthan Assembly, there are no MLAs from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Yet Mayawati, the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has issued a whip asking ‘BSP MLAs’ to vote against the Gehlot government in the assembly of Rajasthan.

This whip has been issued for lakhan Singh, R Gudha, deep Chand, Wajib Ali, Sandeep Kumar and JS Awana. As per news agency ANI, the BSP leader and Mayawati’s close associate Satish Chandra Mishra said, “If they violate it, they will be disqualified.”

The Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan under the political leadership of Congress is hanging by a thin majority in the Rajasthan Assembly after one of the Congress leaders, Sachin Pilot rebelled against the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot alongwith 18 other MLAs. Sachin Pilot was the Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan and has been sacked from his position as well as from his party. In a most optimistic claim by Ashok Gehlot, the Gehlot camp has the support of 103 MLAs in a house of 200 members. This thin majority includes the six MLAs on whom a whip has been issued by BSP leader Mayawati. Mayawati claims them to be her party legislatures.

The Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati won six seats in the Rajasthan Assembly elections of 2018 in which the Congress had fallen short of a majority with 99 seats out of 200. By means of bypolls latter, Congress won two seats and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot could possibly have a merger of the BSP with the Congress to boost his majority in the Assembly. With the BSP Legislature Party and the Congress, announcing a merger in September 2019, all six BSP MLAs had joined the Congress. Speaker of the assembly, CP Joshi accepted the merger by mentioning it to be valid under the tenth schedule of the Constitution or the anti-defection law.

Later the BSP challenged the merger and the Speaker’s decision before the Election Commission of India and the matter is yet to be decided. Presently, the BJP too became a party with MLA Madan Dilawar and moved the Rajasthan High Court against the decision of the speaker to approve the merger.

Speaking about the whip issued by the BSP, Satish Chandra Mishra says that the party considers the merger to be invalid. “BSP is a national party, there cannot be any merger at the state level at the instance of the six MLAs unless there is a merger of the BSP at the national level,” said Mishra.

The anti-defection law, commonly states that a group of MLAs of a party can escape disqualification if they separate with a two-third majority of the legislature party i.e., the total strength of the party in the house. Here is a lot of confusion as the Tenth Schedule explains that anti-defection law cannot apply to the movement of MLAs or MPs from one political organization to another.

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