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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

AAP to challenge ordinance on convicted lawmakers

PTI  New Delhi, September 25, 2013
First Published: 21:55 IST(25/9/2013) | Last Updated: 21:56 IST(25/9/2013)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to sign the ordinance okayed by the Union cabinet which prevents immediate disqualification of MPs and MLAs upon conviction in a court of law.

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If the president gives his assent to the said ordinance, then AAP will challenge it through a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, the party said.

"We have sought time from the president and have written a letter urging him not to sign the ordinance. But if he goes ahead, we will challenge it through a PIL," AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal told reporters in New Delhi.

Through this ordinance, the UPA government was trying to save convicted MPs and MLAs, Kejriwal alleged, and pointed out that judgement against RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was due soon while Congress MP Rasheed Masood faced the prospect of disqualification as he was recently convicted in a case of corruption.

The Union Cabinet had on Tuesday cleared the ordinance which protects MPs and MLAs facing immediate disqualification upon conviction in a criminal case with a jail term of two years. The ordinance negated a two-month-old Supreme Court verdict.

The ordinance states that a convicted legislator will not be disqualified if an appeal is filed within 90 days and the court stays the conviction and the sentence.

Reacting to BJP's opposition to the ordinance, Kejriwal alleged that the protest registered by the saffron party was a show. If a party really is opposed to the ordinance, then it should not give poll tickets to tainted persons, he added.

Turning to the debate over opinion polls, Kejriwal questioned their validity, saying that when he asked about the methodology for such surveys, none of the television channels were ready to tell him what that was.

"So, I have doubts if such polls were ever conducted and these are basically paid ones," he alleged.

Refuting allegations about AAP being the B-team of Congress, Kejriwal said, "For these elections, both Congress and BJP are targeting me, neither is BJP attacking Congress and nor is Congress taking on BJP. Since, our (AAP's) emergence has hit them hard, both are now against us."


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