Preneet Kaur, suspended Congress MP and the wife of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, voted in favour of the Ethics Committee recommendations on Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, showing support for her expulsion from parliament. Her aid proved decisive at the meeting of the Committee, who took a vote today on the recommendations and it was adopted with a 6-4 majority.
A total of 10 members, including the chairman of the committee had attended the meeting held this evening. The BJP numbers were down from 7 to 4 today as three of its members were unable to attend.
One MP was missing from the Opposition side too. Uttam Reddy, one of the five MPs who staged a walkout supporting Mahua on November 2, is filing his nomination for the Telangana Assembly elections.
A YSR Congress nominee — whose vote the NDA could have counted on — also did not attend the meeting.
Under the circumstances, Ms Kaur’s vote became pivotal – one more vote in favour of Ms Moitra would have led to a deadlock.
Ms Kaur’s husband, veteran Congressman and Gandhi family loyalist Amarinder Singh, had quit the Congress in 2021 after he was forced to step down from the top post in Punjab. He then formed his own party — the Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) –and later joined the BJP.
In February, Congress suspended Preneet Kaur, accusing her of “indulging in anti-party activities to help BJP”. There was a call for her expulsion from Amrinder Singh Raja Warring — the new state party chief — last year after the four-time MP participated in a roadshow led by Union minister Rajnath Singh, who was campaigning for her husband during last year’s state election.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, who is powering the moves against Ms Moitra, welcomed Preneet Kaur’s decision. “Punjab has always stood for India’s identity and national security, today again Captain Amarinder Singh ji and Congress Party MP Preneet Kaur ji did not make any compromise for national security. India was, is and will always be grateful to the brave men of Punjab,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.
In its report, the Committee said Mahua Moitra shared user ID with “unauthorised persons”, took cash and amenities from businessman Darshan Hiranandani and it was “serious misdemeanour” which calls for “serious punishment”.
Besides her expulsion from parliament, the panel recommended that a “legal, intensive, institutional and time-bound investigation” be held into the matter.
Mr Dubey said that anti-corruption body Lokpal has ordered a CBI probe into the corruption allegations against Ms Moitra. The MP accused her of asking questions in Lok Sabha to target the Adani Group at the behest of businessman Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for gifts. He also said Ms Moitra had shared her login wih Mr Hiranandani, which has been accepted by both parties.
Ms Moitra has admitted to sharing her parliamentary login, but claimed there is no regulation governing this. Ahead of her hearing with the Ethics Committee, she had questioned why these rules “are not shared with MPs”.