In a rather unprecedented action, two congress MLAs have been suspended from the Telangana Assembly . Speaking in the house, chief Minister, KCR said that a similar action on two more congress MLAs is likely . What does this infer for politics? On the face of it , it is an action to regulate behaviour of erring MLAs. But, with the extreme action of expulsion, the two seats will now fall vacant. As the Parliament elections are not within the stipulated period, the by-elections are most likely .
As per the Indian Constitution and Supreme court judgement in Raja Ram Pal case , the courts do not interfere with the action of the speaker and the house. The legislature has a constitutional right to regulate its own proceedings. The validity of any proceeding in the legislature cannot be questioned before a court of law on the grounds of any alleged irregularity or irrationality .
In its judgement in Raja Ram Pal vs. the Hon’ble Speaker , Lok Sabha and others case, the Supreme Court held that the legislative proceeding can only be challenged in the court on the ground of illegality or unconstitutionality . The Speaker who is vested with the power to regulate the conduct of the business or to maintain order is not subjected to jurisdiction of the courts in exercise of those powers. The apex court also upheld the power of Parliament to expel its members from the house. This applies to state legislature (Practice and Procedure of Parliament by M.N.Kaul and S.L. Shakdher ).
Thus, the expelled Congress members may not get any relief even if they challenge the expulsion in any court of law. Therefore, the by-election in these seats seems to be imminent.
In fact, the ruling TRS is eagerly waiting for such an opportunity to prove that it still enjoys the popular support of the people of Telangana . This is more so essential as it comes before 2019 general elections. The TDP in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh proved its capacity to win the polls through the Nandyal by-poll . The ruling TRS in Telangana is waiting for such similar opportunity to demoralise the opposition Congress.
More recently, when Revanth Reddy resigned from the state assembly , the TRS was more or less battle ready to prove its point. However, no clarity is available on the resignation of Revanth. It seems that Revanth Reddy and the party he joined in are not serious in precipitating by-elections due to the risks involved in such an exercise. However, the ruling TRS is not ready to take extra risk by seeking the resignation of all those who have joined the party from other parties. Any such mega exercise can prove to be counterproductive for the TRS .
Therefore, the TRWS is looking for a safer option to prove that it is still a force to reckon with and any talk of anti-incumbency is baseless.
At one point of time, there was speculation in political circles, that the TRS would go for by-elections in Nalgonda parliamentary constituency as Gutha Sukender Reddy was appointed as chairman of Rythu Samanvaya Samithi. But, given the fact that it is a sitting seat of Congress and the party is relatively stronger in the district the TRS seems to have revised its decision and proper precaution is taken so that Sukender Reddy would not attract the office of profit .
Now, that the two expelled members belong to Nalgonda and Mahbubnagar districts that fall in South Telangana, the ruling TRS finds it as a useful situation for it in the by-elections. If the congress wins, the TRS can simply claim that the party has only retained its seats. If the TRS wins, it will be a morale booster. The TRS is traditionally strong in Northern Telangana and any win in Southern Telangana would be a bonus for the party . Komati Reddy Venkat Reddy and Sampat , the two expelled members face serious infighting within the party. Komati Reddy is engaged in a direct fight with the PCC chief. The TRS expects to gain from the infighting in Congress.
Any show of strength ahead of 2019 general elections would be a major strategic advantage for the ruling party. The TRS is already planning for mega public meetings in both Nalgonda and Mahbubnagar. The ruling party strongly feels that its strength has increased after the 2014 mandate due to defections from other parties and the pro-incumbency enjoyed by KCR government. The TRS leaders cite the example of Warangal parliamentary by-poll necessitated by the resignation of deputy chief minister, Kadiyam Srihari. The TRS retained the seat with higher margin as compared to 2014 .
Thus, the expulsion of congress MLAs will now translate into a political battle from that of a legislative battle.