The Pioneer
SNV Sudhir

As many as 22 public representatives, both MPs and MLAs of the YSRCP, the ruling party in AP, face the risk of disqualification if the charges framed against them under several Sections of the Representation of People (RP) Act, 1951 are proven, and they are convicted.

There has been a growing demand in recent times to fast track cases pending against public representatives. The Supreme Court too is making some efforts in this regard.

Notably, Andhra Pradesh has more public representatives facing such charges under the RP Act than Telangana. While Andhra Pradesh has 24 MPs and MLAs facing cases under the RP Act, Telangana has three MPs.

The YSRCP has the fourth highest number of public representatives against whom charges have been framed for offences falling under Section 8(1) (2) & (3) of the Representation of People (RP) Act, 1951.

Among the national and regional political parties in the country, the YSRCP shares this dubious distinction with Odisha’s BJD and the national party CPM.

However, if the TDP MLAs who have started disassociating with the opposition party and pledged their support to the YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led party are taken into account, the YSRCP pushes BJD and CPM to fifth position.

The other major regional parties in the two Telugu states – the TRS and TDP – have only one and two public representatives respectively, facing cases under the RP Act, 1951. Interestingly, both of these TDP MLAs shifted their allegiance to the YSRCP in recent times. According to the analysis of election affidavits by Delhi-based Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch, 22 MPs and MLAs of YSRCP face cases under RP Act. Among them, 18 are MLAs and four are MPs.

Of the 175 Assembly segments in Andhra Pradesh, YSRCP has representation in 151 segments and 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies. Interestingly, women MLAs – Deputy Chief Minister Pamula Pushpa Sreevani and Home Minister Mekathoti Sucharita also found mention in the list.

Section 8 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 lays down qualifications for persons being chosen as, and for being, a ‘Member of either House of Parliament’ as well as a ‘Member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council’ of a State.

Subsections (1), (2) and (3) of Section 8 of the Act say that a person convicted of an offence mentioned in any of these subsections shall stand disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years of his/her release.

ADR and National Election Watch have analysed the affidavits of 2,495 sitting MPs, MLAs and Ministers from 2019 to 2021, including 542 Lok Sabha MPs and 1,953 MLAs. Of these, charges have been framed by the court for offences falling under Section 8(1) (2) & (3) of the R.P Act, 1951 against 2,495 MPs/MLAs, 363 (15 percent) MPs and MLAs.

Charges under various Sections of RP Act have been framed against YSRCP MPs PV Midhun Reddy, Margani Bharath, MVV Satyanarayana and Bellana Chandrasekhar, Ministers Pamula Pushpa Sreevani, Mekathoti Sucharitha, Mekapati Goutham Reddy and MLAs Kolagatla Veerabhadhra Swamy, Merugu Nagarjuna, Annabathuni Siva Kumar, Bolla Brahma Naidu, Gadikota Srikanth Reddy, Pochimareddy Ravindranath Reddy, Kethireddy Pedda Reddy, Thopudurthy Prakash Reddy, Biyyapu Madhusudhan Reddy, Arani Srinivasulu, Kapu Ramachadra Reddy, Peddireddy Dwarakanath Reddy, Jakkampudi Raja, Burra Madhusudhana Rao and Samineni Udaya Bhanu.

TDP’s Vizag south MLA Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar and Chirala MLA Karanam Balaram also found mention in the list. Both these MLAs have openly disassociated themselves from TDP and started moving closer with YSRCP, though not joined the ruling party officially.

The lone TRS MP on the list is Kavitha Malothu who represents Mahabubabad. Other MPs from Telangana who are part of the list are Congress MP from Bhongir Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and BJP MP from Adilabad Soyam Bapu Rao.

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