The appointment of Surendra Pal Singh TT as state minister independent charge in Bhajan Lal Sharma cabinet has wide opened debate on its constitutional validity. TT is not an MLA and is a BJP candidate from Srikaranpur seat where election is due on January 5.
Due to death of Congress candidate and sitting MLA Gurmeet Singh Kunnar, election on Srikaranpur seat was postponed. After announcement of elections, model code of conduct has been enforced in Srikaranpur seat.
The appointment of Surendra Pal Singh TT has come under question. Congress leader Sanyam Lodha has raised objection on appointment of TT saying that it will affect the upcoming election and it is gross violation of model code of conduct prescribed by the Election Commission of India.
“ The D part of point number 32 of Model code of conduct for the guidance of political parties and candidates clearly states that
“From the time elections are announced by commission, ministers and other authorities shall not make ad hoc appointments in government, public undertaking etc which may have the effect of influencing the voter in favour of the party in power,” Lodha writes on X.
On the other hand veteran BJP leader Rajendra Singh Rathore defended the appointment of TT stating that under the provisions of Article 164 (4) of the constitution, any person can assume post of minister for 6 months before getting elected. Under the provisions of this Article, Governor can administer oath of minister to anyone on the advice of chief minister. The person then has to be elected member of assembly within six months.
“The oath taken under third schedule of constitution is no way violation of model code of conduct. In previous governments also, many candidates have contested elections after assuming ministerial posts. Hence, oath taken by Surendra Pal Singh TT is well within the provisions of constitution,” Rathore wrote on X.
Earlier, sources in BJP said that the matter related to inclusion of TT in cabinet was discuss at the highest level.
“The appointment has been done after seeking legal opinion about this issue. There is no clear cut directions on whether a person can take oath as minsiter while construing elections. So there is no violation of model code of conduct,” said a senior BJP leader.