India Intelligence Report

President Disqualifies Jaya Bachan


Heeding sound advice from the Election Commission (EC), President Abdul Kalam too the unusual step of disqualifying Samajwadi Party (SP) Rajya Sabha representative, former actress Jaya Bachan since she was engaged in an “office of profit.” Bachan was Chairperson of UP Film Development Council since July 14, 2004 a month after she was elected to the Rajya Sabha. The EC investigated a petition by a Congress leader Madan Mohan Shukla to conclude that Bachan was violating the Constitution by holding an “office of profit.”

A collateral impact is that about 40 other Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament, including United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and SP Secretary General Amar Singh, Minister Subbi Rami Reddy find themselves in similar situations. The opposition is asking for their removal as well. Apparently, Singh, who is also Chairman of the UP Industrial Development, offered to resign and even went to the Vice-President’s office but was asked by SP leader Maulayam Singh Yadav to wait the Parliamentary board. SP has already said that it will re-nominate Bachan to the Rajya Sabha.


It is not clear what the impact of the disqualification will have on SP’s marriage-of-convenience relationship with Congress. Miffed by Rahul Gandhi’s statements on the law and order and administrative incompetence in Uttar Pradesh, SP supreme Maulayam Singh Yadav saw a chance to threaten a no confidence on the Federal Government over the Iran issue. This did not materialize, as the communist allies who are disaffected with the UPA Government on a number of serious national and international issues did not take the bait.

Many analysts speculate the reason may be to manage the state level elections in summer; the only two states where the communists have any support (West Bengal and Kerala) will elect new Assemblies this summer. Some say that if the communists will try to bring down the Government if they should fare well this summer. Others disagree saying that the image of the communists will be tarnished forever if they bring national elections on the nation and disrupt economic activity.

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