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Resignation not in order
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has not accepted BJP member and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation from the Lower House as it was not in order.

Lok Sabha sources said Mr Sidhu’s letter was not in accordance with the rules of procedure which lay down that a member cannot give any reasons or place conditions in his resignation letter.

The Lok Sabha secretariat has, therefore, informed Mr Sidhu that his resignation letter cannot be accepted in its present form.

The cricketer-turned-politician, accompanied by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, submitted his resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker’s Secretariat as Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was not in the office and Lower House Secretary-General P.D. Tachary was in the House.

When Parliament is in session, generally the announcement of the resignation of any member is made in the House.

In his eight-line resignation letter to the Speaker, Mr Sidhu said: “I’ve always stood for truth and moral ground and these principles are above any office or power that I hold.”

“In an 18-year-old case arising out of an alleged road rage, the high court has passed an adverse order against me. The Hon’ble high court will hear my lawyers on Wednesday with regard to the quantum of punishment. Without resorting to technical arguments with regard to what the quantum of punishment will be and my right to challenge the judgement in appeal, I tender my resignation as member of the Lok Sabha,” he said.

Before submitting his resignation, he took the consent of top BJP leaders former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and party President Rajnath Singh.

Later, addressing a press conference, Mr Sidhu said his lawyers would look into the technicalities of the judgement and once the quantum of punishment was pronounced, the further course of action would be decided.

Even as his conviction came as an embarrassment to the party, the BJP rallied behind Mr Sidhu, saying that there was no cause of celebration for the UPA camp as there was no parallel between the case in which Mr Sidhu had been convicted as against that of former Union Coal Minister Sibhu Soren.

“There is a hell lot of difference between the two cases. However, in the guise of that we are not going back on our morality,” Ms Swaraj told newspersons.

She said while Mr Sidhu promptly tendered his resignation, Mr Soren was acting like a “coward by pretending illness” and had only resigned from the Union Cabinet and not the House.

“While Soren has been found guilty of murder, in which the sentence could be even be death penalty, in Sidhu’s case the judgement clearly brings out that there was no intention of murder and the charges are culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” she said.

She also declared that Mr Sidhu would continue to work for the party and would campaign in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Punjab.

A section of the party has been pushing the name of Mr Sidhu for a contest against Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh but after today’s conviction, it would be interesting to see how the party changes its plans.

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