Thiruvananthapuram: Janata Dal (United) leader M P Veerendra Kumar will have to quit his post as the state president of the party once he gets elected to the Rajya Sabha as an LDF-backed independent.
As per rules, a member elected as an independent candidate shall be disqualified if he is found to be attached to any political party after his election.
Along with the oddity of filing nomination for the seat vacated by himself under exceptional circumstances, the veteran leader and his party face such constitutional challenges as well.
According to constitutional provisions and parliamentary legislation, an MP or MLA elected as a candidate of a political party will be disqualified on the ground of defection if he/she voluntarily gives up his membership of such political party. It is applicable to independent members as well.
However, a nominated member to the Upper House is allowed to join a political party provided he joins a political party of his choice after a period of six months from the date on which he takes the seat.
At the national level, the Nitish Kumar-led faction of the JD (U) was recognised as rightful claimant to the ‘Arrow’ poll symbol by the Election Commission. The splinter group led by Sharad Yadav has initiated legal action, staking a claim to the symbol, but the issue is still pending before the court.
Veerendra Kumar found himself in a quandary after the Election Commission issued notification for the Rajya Sabha poll within months after he quit the Upper House following the JD(U) national leadership’s decision to align with the NDA.
Since his party is not recognised by the Election Commission, the only option he had was to contest as an independent candidate. In the meantime, the LDF leadership decided to offer him the seat which was vacated by himself.
Veerendera Kumar was elected to the Rajya Sabha as a UDF nominee in March 2016. If the 82-year-old wins the election scheduled for March 23, he can be an MP till 2022.