Over 50 retired bureaucrats on Thursday wrote to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar seeking action against the Aam Aadmi Party alleging that AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal had induced public servants to work for the party during a press conference in Gujarat on September 3.
The letter, sent by retired IAS officer M. Madan Gopal and signed by 56 former IAS, IFS and other services’ officers, said the AAP leader’s statements were in violation of Order 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 and asked for the AAP’s recognition under the same to be withdrawn.
“A perusal of the live stream of the press conference reveals that while addressing the press, Mr. Kejriwal repeatedly induced public servants of the State of Gujarat to work in tandem with the AAP to ensure its victory in the State elections that are to be conducted in the subsequent months. Mr. Kejriwal called upon public servants, including policemen, home guards, anganwadi workers, State transport drivers and conductors and polling booth officers, to aid the AAP in the upcoming State elections,” the letter said.
The signatories said they disapproved of the AAP’s efforts to “politicise public servants”, who were meant to be non-partisan.
“We emphatically state that through his comments, Mr. Kejriwal has attempted to persuade public servants to act in contravention with the principles and ethics by which they are governed and to act as agents for the AAP in the upcoming elections,” the letter said.
The ex-bureaucrats noted that the Representation of the People Act, 1951 barred corrupt practices such as use of government machinery and undue influence to interfere with free exercise of electoral rights.
“We strongly believe that if the AAP is permitted to continue such dangerous campaigning, a grave precedent will be set, having serious consequences not only for the persons to whom these appeals have been made, but also for the person making such appeal,” the letter said.