New Delhi: Three JD(U) MPs, facing charges of anti-party activities, escaped possible disqualification with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar dropping disciplinary proceedings against them under the anti-defection law after their party withdrew its complaint.
The JD(U)`s change of heart came against the backdrop of the new political equation in Bihar after it parted ways with BJP-led NDA on June 16.
Accepting JD(U)`s request for withdrawing its complaint against the MPs - Rajiv Ranjan Singh `Lalan`, Sushil Singh and Mangni Lal Mandal, Kumar dropped the proceedings under the anti-defection law pending against them for months before the Privileges Committee of the Lok Sabha headed by P C Chacko.
Rajiv Ranjan Singh `Lalan` belongs to influential Bhumihar caste and was the state president of JD(U) before he fell out with Nitish Kumar. Bhumihars are considered a strong support base of BJP.
Sushil Kumar Singh belongs to another influential uppercaste community Rajput. JD(U)`s arch rival RJD has three of its four MPs belonging to this caste. Mandal is an influential OBC leader in North Bihar.
JD(U) had earlier sought their disqualification - under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. However, the party on June 22 requested the Speaker to drop the proceedings against the three MPs.
In a letter on July 4 to JD(U) Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Ranjan Prasad Yadav, joint secretary, Lok Sabha Secretariat, V R Ramesh informed him that the Speaker "acceded to your request to withdraw the petition filed by you under 10th schedule of the Constitution (Anti-defection Law) against Rajiv Ranjan Singh `Lalan`, Sushil Singh and Mangni Lal Mandal."
In his letter on June 22, Yadav said that he would not like to press the petition "further" and it may be "treated as withdrawn".
JD(U) had suspended `Lalan`, Sushil Singh and Mangni Lal Mandal last year for anti-party activities. The party has 20 MPs in Lok Sabha.