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Election Commission of India recommends to President disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba, who is one of the 20 MLAs the Election Commission has recommended for disqualification.

Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba, who is one of the 20 MLAs the Election Commission has recommended for disqualification.  

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is learnt to have recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind that 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs be disqualified on the office-of-profit charge. The President is bound by the Commission’s recommendation.

The Commission, however, refused to comment on the issue, stating that the matter was sub judice.

As and when the President issues orders for the disqualification of these legislators, the ECI will have to conduct by-polls for their respective seats. Currently, 65 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly are held by Aam Aadmi Party members.

Seven MLAs from the AAP have moved Delhi High Court against the EC's recommendation.

Last June, the ECI ruled that the 20 MLAs de facto held the office of parliamentary secretaries. In September 2016, the Delhi High Court set aside the AAP government’s order appointing 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries in March 2015 as it lacked the approval of the Lieutenant Governor.

Lawyer Prashant Patel petitioned then President Pranab Mukherjee seeking their disqualification. The petition was forwarded to the ECI for its recommendation.

Subsequently, the Commission started a hearing on the issue and sought responses from the MLAs, who refuted the charges, stating that they did not draw any pecuniary benefits from their posts. They also cited the Delhi High Court directive stating that their appointments had been set aside.

Witch-hunt, says AAP

"Everywhere in the world if any inquiry is being conducted, the accused are given a chance to present their case. But the ECI has till date not allowed our MLAs to explain themselves," said Saurabh Bharadwaj, AAP MLA from Greater Kailash.

"The ECI seems to be working at the behest of the BJP government. It has lost all credibility. This is a witch-hunt against our MLAs," he added.

Kejriwal should resign: Congress

"The ECI has given them a lot of opportunities, heard many petitions. There is no way that these 20 MLAs can escape disqualification. Their appointment letters said they would get offices, staff and cars," said Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Maken.

The Congress had filed a petition with the ECI in June 2016 seeking the disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs for holding an office of profit. Since then, one of the MLAs, Jarnail Singh of Rajouri Garden constituency, resigned to contest the Punjab Assembly elections.

Demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal , Mr. Maken said the Congress would launch a campaign against the AAP government.

Following are the 20 AAP MLAs:

Praveen Kumar (Jangpura)

Sharad Kumar (Narela)

Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka)

Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar)

Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar)

Sanjeev Jha (Burari)

Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar)

Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli)

Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar)

Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur)

Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar)

Rajesh Rishi (Wazirpur)

Avtar Singh (Kalkaji)

Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh)

Vijender Singh Vijay (Rajinder Singh)

Anil Kumar Bajpal (Gandhi Nagar)

Manoj Kumar (Kondli)

Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk)

Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar)

Sukhvir Singh (Mundka)

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 6:09:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ec-recommends-disqualification-of-20-aap-mlas/article22471630.ece

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