BJP on Tuesday hit out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for questioning the credibility of the President’s office over refusal of assent to a bill on appointment of parliamentary secretaries, and accused him of being “obsessed” about attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for no rhyme or reason.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Kejriwal was ‘frustrated” that his flying ambition has crash-landed and asked him not to make the President’s decision a “political issue”.
“Office of the President of India and the Election Commission are independent institutions with great credibility. You (Kejriwal) have certain political ambitions, rightly so under a democratic system, but for god’s sake don’t demean the credibility of the President of India because in the end you are demeaning the democracy of this country,” Patra told reporters at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
Kejriwal, earlier on Tuesday, accused Modi of indulging in “political vendetta” over the refusal of assent by the President to the bill that protects 21 party MLAs who have been appointed parliamentary secretaries and face the prospect of disqualification, and said BJP is “scared” of AAP and unable to digest its defeat in Delhi.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s role in the process as the bill has been turned down by the President and not him, Kejriwal said, “President does not take any decision. Probably the file doesn’t even go to him. The decision is taken by the government and home ministry decided this.”
Patra said the issue of disqualification of 21 MLAs lies before the President and the Election Commission. “This issue is not with BJP. We don’t have to do anything to it,” he said, adding that the complainant in the case was an independent lawyer.
He said that as per the existing law formulated in 2006, Delhi is entitled to have one parliamentary secretary and Kejriwal should have ensured its amendment before appointing 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.
“But he was trying to amend it in retrospective and this has been caught red-handed,” Patra said.
He alleged that Kejriwal, instead of working for development of Delhi, was only attacking the Prime Minister and was obsessed about it.
he BJP spokesperson claimed AAP MLAs are the “highest paid” lawmakers in the country and they had even got a 400 percent salary rise.
“When they took their oath, they came in metro, e-rickshaw and other simple modes of transport as they are going to do service. Now they say if an MLA has to visit an hospital or a school, he should get additional renumeration, a red beacon car among others. Is this service or commercialisation of service?” Patra said.
Patra said BJP is not afraid of APP and the people are watching how the Delhi government is performing.
Petitions have been filed with President Pranab Mukherjee seeking disqualification of the 21 AAP MLAs on the ground that they occupied ‘office of profit’ violating constitutional provisions.
Acting as a quasi-judicial body, the Election Commission to which the President referred the issue, had sought replies from the MLAs.
Through the bill for amending the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, the AAP government wanted “retrospective” exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification.
In March, 2015, Kejriwal had passed an order appointing the 21 party MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.