Somabhai gets new lease of life

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 13 2008, 06:04am hrs
BJP MP Somabhai Patel, who voted in favour of the UPA government in the trust motion on July 22 this year, got a fresh lease of life on Friday with Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee rejecting his erstwhile party's petition to get him disqualified from the lower house.

Patel, a known detractor of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, had been suspended from the BJP a year back for working against the interests of the party in Gujarat. While being suspended from the party, Somabhai voted in favour of the Manmohan Singh government in the trust vote that came in the wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal. After deliberating on the saffron party's petition, speaker Chatterjee concluded that the BJP failed to "adduce credible evidence" to prove that the rebel member was served a whip in accordance with the provisions of the anti-defection Act.

He observed that though the BJP in the hearing of the case and its pleadings had mentioned that there was publication in the media about the issuance of the whip, "but no proof whatever was adduced in this case". Citing a Supreme Court judgment, he said a direction under the tenth schedule of the constitution (anti-defection law) is required to be in writing and issued to the members.