Blow to Kejriwal govt: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

BJP and Congress said Kejriwal had lost the moral rights to stay on his post | PTI

The event could make Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's uneasy because once the President approves the recommendation of EC, the 20 seats of Delhi would have to see elections.

Disqualification of 20 MLAs will leave AAP with a reduced strength of 42 in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, still in majority, while by-polls would have to be held for the vacant seats.

After the presidential sign and seal is placed on the EC's recommendation, the 20 MLAs will stand disqualified.

Among the 46 AAP MLAs who will remain, if the disqualification of 20 comes through, there are quite a few who have rocked the boat and brought under scrutiny AAP's ideology of fighting corruption and occupying the high moral ground. "This is against the principle of natural justice", said Mr. Bharadwaj. "This is taking vendetta to next level".

The Election Commission said that all 20 party MLAs are unfit to continue as legislators and sent its recommendation to President Ram Nath Kovind. Advocate Prashant Patel also filed a petition seeking their disqualification. "Do they still have morality to stay in government in Delhi?"

The panel previous year in October issued a notice to the AAP MLAs seeking an explanation after rejecting their pleas to drop the "office of profit" case against them. However, much has happened in the last 2 years that could have had a crucial impact on the case but appears to have been ignored.

Kejriwal simultaneously calls a meeting of Delhi Jal Board. "They got cars, office space and other facilities". Both BJP and congress have sharpened attack on AAP demanding Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's resignation.

This must be the first ever recommendation in EC history where a recommendation has been sent without even hearing the main matter on merits.

AAP has since then been arguing that since the appointment itself was quashed, no office-of-profit case arose.

Soon after, AAP hit back saying that it will challenge the EC decision since the views of the MLAs have not been taken into consideration. Case relates to Kejriwal appointing MLAs as parliamentary secretaries in 2015.

After the appointment, the AAP government sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to provide "retrospective" exemption for parliamentary secretaries "without prior sanction" from the central government.

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