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Sisodia slams BJP for playing ‘dirty politics’, says AAP MLAs’ disqualification ‘unconstitutional’

In an open letter to the people of Delhi, senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia wrote parliamentary secretaries’ posts were created to help in governance and did not have any benefits.

delhi Updated: Jan 22, 2018 16:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AAP,Arvind Kejriwal,Manish Sisodia
AAP leader Manish Sisodia was reacting to President Ram Nath Kovind approving EC’s recommendation to disqualify 20 party MLAs for holding ‘offices of profit’.(HT file photo)

Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday questioned the “unconstitutional” and “illegal” disqualification of 20 AAP legislators and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party government of indulging in “dirty politics” in an open letter to the people of Delhi.

“I am unhappy today, but not disappointed. I have faith in the people of Delhi and country,” Sisodia wrote in the two-page letter shared on social media.

President Ram Nath Kovind approved the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 party MLAs for violating the law against holding an office of profit.

The MLAs, including Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot, were parliamentary secretaries in the government, a post that the poll panel said can be considered an office of profit.

Sisodia said the posts were created to help in governance and did not have any benefits such as vehicles or houses attached to them.

“When there were no benefits, how is it an office of profit?” he asked while alleging that the MLAs were not given time to explain themselves after the last hearing on June 23 last year.

Sisodia’s letter comes on a day when the Delhi high court is scheduled to hear the appeal of six AAP legislators against the poll panel on Monday. The party will also move a fresh petition against the government notification issued on Sunday after President Ramnath Kovind approved the poll panel’s recommendation.

In case the court does not quash or stay the decision, fresh elections will have to be held in the 20 assembly seats.

Listing the work that the AAP government has done in the last three years, Sisodia alleged that the MLAs were disqualified to stall the developmental work in Delhi in the remaining two years of the Kejriwal government.

“By pushing Delhi into elections means the model code of conduct coming into place. Our government has a lot to do. But elections would mean we cannot do much. Besides it also means huge expenses,” he said.

The senior leader also asked the people of Delhi whether it was justified to push Delhi into polls.

“Isn’t it unconstitutional and illegal to disqualify MLAs? Isn’t it pushing Delhi into polls? Isn’t it dirty politics?” he asked.

The letter slammed the Centre for hampering the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s work.

“They (BJP) have been trying to derail us in the last three years. First, they try to frame our MLAs in false cases later dropped by the court. Then they try to poach our MLAs. When everything else failed, they disqualify our 20 MLAs,” he said.

“I have faith in you. You will give a correct and befitting reply,” Sisodia said.

The AAP, which swept the Delhi elections in 2015 and came to power with 67 MLAs in the 70-member assembly, is now reduced to 46 MLAs. One legislator, Jarnail Singh, had quit from the assembly last year to contest elections in Punjab.

Kejriwal’s party still has enough MLAs to run the government, but it might be more vulnerable now with fewer seats.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 13:38 IST