The two Congress MLAs expelled from the Telangana Assembly on charges of unruly behaviour have now knocked on the doors of the Election Commission, seeking to be allowed the exercise their right to vote in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.
This came after the two expelled MLAs went to the Hyderabad High Court, challenging their suspension from the House and also a gazette notification issued by the Legislature Secretary notifying vacancy for Nalgonda and Alampur constituencies.
The High Court granted the two temporary relief on March 20, and directed the Election Commission not to issue poll schedule for bye-elections in their constituencies for six months.
The expelled MLAs reached then out to the Election Commission, accompanied by senior Congress leader Marri Shashidar Reddy and MLC Rajagopal Reddy, demanding their right to exercise their vote in the Rajya Sabha elections, scheduled to be held on March 23.
Sampath Kumar, one of the expelled MLAs, said that they demanded their right to exercise their vote.
"We gave our representation to the EC authorities on the kind of injustice that has been meted out to us. We demanded our right to exercise our vote as an elected member of the Assembly," he said.
"We were given assurance from the EC that our rights won't be curbed,” he added.
"They even went on to remove us from our roles without even having prior permission from the EC," he said.
The polling for the three vacant Rajya Sabha seats will be held on March 23. The Telugu Desam Party, which has only two MLAs has decided not to participate in the elections. The BJP is yet to state its decision on whether or not it will be participating.
However, BJP MLA and Assembly Floor Leader G Kishan Reddy supported the expelled Congress leaders demand to ‘exercise their right to vote’.
"They should be allowed to participate in the voting. It is their democratic right,” he said.
The two MLAs were expelled after the Congress created a commotion during the joint session of the Assembly and Legislative Council on March 12. In the ruckus that ensued, Venkat Reddy hurled his headphones towards the podium, and ended up injuring Legislative Council Chairman Swamy Goud’s eye.
Following this, on March 13, Assembly speaker S Madhusudhana Chary expelled two and suspended 11 Congress MLAs. This even led to the Congress finding an unlikely friend in the BJP, who, along with the Congress, boycotted the session.
The very next day, on March 14, the state government notified the Election Commission, and issued a Gazette notification for the two vacancies after the two MLAs were expelled. The leader of the house, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, also stated the government was considering expelling two more members.