AAP MLAs disqualification: BJP welcomes President’s decision, Congress says ready for bypolls

President Ram Nath Kovind approved the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs in Delhi on charges of holding Office of Profit.

delhi Updated: Jan 21, 2018 19:33 IST
Agencies, New Delhi
AAP MLAs,AAP MLAs disqualified,Office of Profit
Senior AAP leaders Gopal Rai and Dilip Pandey address a press conference in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

The Congress on Sunday accused the BJP and the Election Commission for delaying the disqualification of 20 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the office of profit case.

Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said the Election Commission and the BJP delayed the disqualification of AAP MLAs to help them.

“If decision would have come before December 22, then these 20 MLAs would have been disqualified. And thus they could not have voted in the Rajya Sabha election,” Maken told media persons in Delhi.

“On December 22, the Election Commission announced polls for three Rajya Sabha polls. And the poll panel only sent its recommendations to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs to the President on January 19,” he said, asking what had transpired between the BJP, AAP and the EC in this period.

Maken also demanded resignation of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying his party was ready for bypolls.

“Kejriwal has lost the moral right to rule and he should step down after the disqualification of 20 MLAs of his party,” Maken said.

The Congress is “fully ready” to contest the bypolls on the 20 seats. “We are holding meetings over the possible elections. We will hold workers meets after January 26. I hope the people will correct the mistake they committed three years back,” he added.

The BJP, however, said President Ram Nath Kovind’s decision on disqualification of MLAs had contributed to protection of democratic values.

“The Delhi BJP welcomes the decision taken by the President to disqualify the 20 MLAs,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Delhi unit President Manoj Tiwari said.

“With his speedy decision, the President has made a major contribution towards protecting democratic values,” the BJP MP from northeast Delhi said.

Following Kovind’s approval, the Union law and justice ministry issued a notification saying that the President has held that the 20 members of Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified under 15 (1) (a) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) act.

The Election Commission had on Friday recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries. It gave its opinion to the President on a complaint by advocate Prashant Patel, a member of the Hindu Legal Cell, in June 2015, who petitioned then President Pranab Mukherjee alleging illegality in the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries.

The application by Patel said 21 AAP MLAs, including Jarnail Singh (Rajouri Garden) who resigned to contest the Punjab Assembly polls last year, were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in violation of the Constitution.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 19:33 IST