ONI Bureau: In a big jolt to Arvind Kejriwal, the Election Commission has disqualified 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs for allegedly holding offices of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.
The recommendations were sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his consideration. AAP has decided to challenge the decision in the court of law if President upholds EC’s recommendations.
The AAP Govt had passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to exempt the posts of Parliamentary Secretary from the definition of office of profit with retrospective effect to escape punishment, but President Pranab Mukherjee refused to sign it.
While the case was pursed by lawyer Prashant Patel Umrao, the Congress had also moved the EC in June 2016, seeking disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs. The proceedings against Jarnail Singh were dropped after he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to contest Punjab Assembly polls.
Even the Delhi High Court had cancelled the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries, terming those posts illegal.
After the disqualification of 20 MLAs, the AAP is now left with 45 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. There is no immediate threat to the AAP Government in Delhi, as still enjoys the majority. However, if bypolls are held in these 20 seats, it would witness interesting political developments in the coming weeks.
Both BJP and Congress have sought Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation and dissolution of Delhi Assembly.