Roja with other YSRCP MLAs
Roja with other YSRCP MLAsIANS

YSRCP MLA Roja, who is embroiled in a controversy surrounding her one-year suspension over her alleged remarks against a Dalit MLA, has finally appeared before the Privileges Committee of the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Legislative Assembly.

Gollapalli Surya Rao, the chairperson of Privileges Committee, has confirmed Roja appeared before the Committee Wednesday. Her explanation has been recorded and he would send a report on the proceedings to the speaker of the AP Assembly soon, reports Sakshi. But he declined to divulge the details of her explanation.

Dalit MLA Vangalapudi Anitha, who is elected on a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ticket, had lodged a complaint against Roja in December 2015, alleging the actress-turned-politician had verbally abused her. She had demanded action against the YSRCP MLA for her comments in the AP Assembly.

Roja was suspended from the House for one year during the winter session for verablly abusing TDP members, including Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. The resolution was taken unanimously by a voice vote. Later, Speaker K Sivaprasad Rao had referred the issue to the Privileges Committee of the AP Assembly.

Roja was reportedly served notice twice to appear before the committee and clarify her stand on the issue. But the YSRCP MLA could not appear before the committee due to some reason and had informed them in writing her inability to attend the hearings, according to Sakshi.

She also took the legal route to challenge her suspension from the House. A single-judge Hyderabad High Court bench issued interim stay on the suspension March 17. The court also made it clear the speaker was not precluded from taking action based on the recommendations of the Privileges Committee. Despite the interim orders, she was not allowed to attend the ongoing budget session.

The speaker tabled the committee's report in the House March 21 even as the legislature challenged the high court order. The government offered to let Roja into the House if she tendered an apology even at this stage, but her lawyer rejected the proposal saying her client had done "nothing wrong."

Opposition leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy and YSRCP MLAs went to the Raj Bhavan to lodge a complaint against the ruling TDP for not following the high court order. Later, they staged a sit-in on the Assembly premises for an hour April 1, when Roja was not allowed to enter the House.

Later, Roja presented the high court order to security officials and tried to enter the Assembly. But the officials did not allow her, stating they had received instructions to that effect. Jaganmohan Reddy asked the officials to state in writing that they would not allow her inside the Assembly. This reportedly led to high drama and a heated argument between the opposition leaders and the officials.