AAP office of profit row: Facing disqualification for allegedly holding an office of profit, the 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs have sought time from President Ram Nath Kovind to present their views before the latter gives the final assent to the EC recommendations. The decision was taken after the 20 lawmakers held a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, and other senior AAP leaders at the chief minister’s residence on Saturday. Speaking to media, Deputy CM Sisodia said that MLAs were not given the opportunity to present evidence with them. He added that MLAs have a lot to tell and prove that there was no office of profit case, adding that EC decision is unconstitutional and illegal. “We are seeking appointment to meet the president and the MLAs will convey him that it is a biased recommendation and against natural justice,” he said.
In a major decision, the Election Commission had on Friday asked the President to disqualify the 20 MLAs for holding offices of profit, setting the stage for their ouster from the Assembly. In an opinion sent to President Kovind, the poll-body recommended MLAs be disqualified for occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015, and September 8, 2016. However, the development does not threaten the AAP government in Delhi as it has a brute majority of 66 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly. Still, the opposition parties, BJP and the Congress have demanded Kejriwal’s resignation on moral grounds.
Deputy CM Sisodia said the AAP will also go to court on the matter. “We hope to get justice in court and the case will not stand. Even if justice was denied us in the court, we will go to the people’s court which is the biggest court,” he said. Sisodia also slammed the BJP, saying it wants elections so that all schemes and projects initiated by the AAP government can be derailed.
“They have been trying hard, but none of their conspiracies succeeded. BJP people are having a problem because of successes of the AAP government in three years. Now, we are going to do door-step delivery of services, new Mohalla clinics are coming up, CCTV project is in a final stage. The government is now in fourth gear and the BJP is trying to stop us from working on these projects,” he said.
Sarita Singh, AAP MLA from Rohtas Nagar, agreed with Sisodia. The MLA, facing disqualification, said the parliamentary secretaries did not get any pecuniary benefit. On the contrary, the parliamentary secretaries had to spend money from their pockets, Singh said. Alka Lamba, AAP MLA from Chandani Chowk, said all 20 AAP MLAs have sought appointment with the president at individual level. “Plus, a petition is also being drafted for all 20 MLAs,” Lamba said.