AROUND SIX months after they defected to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by deserting Congress, Vashram Sagathiya and Komal Bharai have been disqualified as corporators of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) after the state government granted a Congress plea against them under the anti-defection law.
Dilip Raval, the designated officer of the urban development and urban housing department passed an order on 29th of last month, declaring Sagathiya and Bharai disqualified as corporators of the RMC. The officer relied on Section 3(1)(a) of the Gujarat Provision for Disqualification of Members of Local Authorities for Defection Act 1986.
“Respondent No.3, Vashram Alabhai Sagathiya was elected to Rajkot Municipal Corporation on the election symbol of Indian National Congress. He quit his original party of I.N. Congress and joined Aam Aadmi Party. As he quit his original party voluntarily, I hereby order his disqualification as member of Rajkot Municipal Corporation under Section 3(1)(a) of the Gujarat Provision for Disqualification of Members of Local Authorities for Defection Act 1986,” reads the order.
Incidentally, AAP has declared Sagathiya as its candidate for Rajkot rural seat for the Assembly election due to be held in December this year.
Through a similar order, the urban development department also declared Bharai disqualified as an RMC corporator.
The disqualifications of the two corporators came on a complaint filed by Bhanuben Sorani, the leader of Opposition in RMC July 12 this year. Sagathiya and Bharai were among the four Congress candidates who had won RMC election early in 2021. However, they joined AAP on April 14 this year. On April 18, Pradeep Trivedi, president of Rajkot city unit of the Congress had written to the Rajkot municipal commissioner, seeking disqualification of Sagathiya and Sorani.
“Justice has been done today by disqualification of the two corporators who were elected on Congress symbol. If one wants to join other party, one should resign first and seek reelection on the symbol of one’s new party as people vote for a party and not a candidate,” Mahesh Rajput, secretary of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee said, demanding byelection be conducted on the seats Sagathiya and Bharai were elected from in 2021.
Sagathiya and Bharai could not be reached for a comment.