Guv sends reminder to EC on disqualification of 17 MLAs

AAP MLA Alka Lamba

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday accepted Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify 20 lawmakers of Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party in office-of-profit case.

Disqualified AAP MLA Alka Lamba said it was "unfortunate" that the president took the decision in "haste" without giving the legislators a chance to speak.

Referring to the disqualification of 20 MLAs, the Congress has now alleged that BJP and EC were involved in delaying the decision.

The AAP had approached the High Court on Friday with the judge adjourning the matter for hearing on Monday.

Maken also demanded resignation of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying his party was ready for bypolls. Petitioner Prashant Patel had opposed the appointment of AAP MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries, which, according to him, was office of profit.

An AAP argument is that other states like Rajasthan, Karnataka and Telangana assemblies too have Parliament secretaries, who haven't been disqualified. ANI reported that President Ram Nath Kovind had approved the recommendation of disqualification made by the Election Commission. He claimed that the Election Commission's decision to disqualify the MLAs was biased.

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Gopal Rai, the AAP's Delhi convener and minister, said: "When we sought time from the President, we were told he was out (in Ahmedabad on Sunday for the Gujarat University convocation)".

The 20 MLAs disqualified include, Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) - who is also a minister - Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura). It's an act of Centre using constitutional institutions.

The move also is a massive blow for the AAP which has a massive majority in the 70-member Delhi assembly with 65 seats.

Sujit Dey, counsel for the 10 legislators, said the issue of disqualification has become "infructuous" since the post of Parliamentary Secretary itself had ceased to exist, and all parliamentary secretaries had immediately resigned after the High Court verdict.

The complaint was against 21 MLAs out of which one MLA Jarnail Singh had resigned in January past year for contesting Punjab Assembly Polls.

The Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, BJP's Vijender Gupta said, "Kejriwal should take moral responsibility for disqualification of his MLAs".

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