Patna: The ruling JD(U) in Bihar today appeared set to crack the whip on 18 dissident MLAs who voted against official candidates in the Rajya Sabha bypoll.
A report on the 18 MLAs for not voting for official candidates and instigating others to vote against them was submitted to the party for disciplinary action, Parliamentary Affairs minister Shrawan Kumar told reporters.
Kumar, also JD(U) Chief Whip in the Assembly, said the report was submitted to party president Sharad Yadav, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, state party chief Basistha Narayan Singh and former chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Asked about the nature of action, Kumar said that this would be decided by the four senior leaders. He also said the act of the MLAs suggested that they had made up their mind to give up JD(U) membership.
Kumar said that there was a provision in the 10th Schedule of the Constitution for issuance of whip in RS poll and said accordingly he had issued whip to party legislators to vote for official candidates.
The 18 rebel JD(U) MLAs, up in arms since the induction of 14 ministers in the Jitan Ram Manjhi cabinet on May 20, had voted for Independents Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali on June 19 in the RS bypoll with BJP.
JD(U) had fielded diplomat-turned politician Pavan Kumar Varma and Gulam Rasool Balyawi who won. The Parliamentary Affairs minister said that three MLAs, Raj Kumar Rai, Razia Khatoon and Sarfaraz Alam were wrongly reported to have voted against official candidates in a section of the media.
The dissidents had met at the residence of their leader Gyanendra Kumar Singh yesterday and decided to continue with their protests in the Assembly and go to the people to expose the 'wrongs' going on in the party.
In the 232-member Bihar Assembly at present, JD(U) has 117 members including Speaker, BJP 84, RJD 21, Congress 4, Independents 5 and CPI 1.