New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal on Monday unleashed a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a bill designed to protect 21 Aam Aadmi Party lawmakers who had been appointed as parliamentary secretaries by the Delhi chief minister.
- 21 AAP lawmakers face disqualification after President's no to Bill
- Mr Kejriwal alleges disqualification on recommendation of Modi government
- Had passed order appointing 21 AAP lawmakers as Parliamentary Secretaries
The AAP lawmakers face disqualification after the President refused to clear the Delhi government's Office of Profit Bill. Mr Kejriwal alleges he did so on the recommendation of the Modi government at the Centre.
"I want to ask Modiji is he not allowing the Delhi Government to function because he is unable to digest defeat in Delhi," Mr Kejriwal asked.
He listed states ruled by the BJP or its allies to also ask, "Haryana, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and others have Parliament secretaries too; Why is Modiji only behind disqualifying Delhi's Parliament Secretaries?"
"Arvind Kejriwal is trying to politicise the issue," said the BJP's Sambit Patra, asking why Mr Kejriwal appointed the Parliamentary Secretaries first and passed the law to exempt them from office of profit rules later.
"It's a classic case of crash landing of AAP's udta ambition," the BJP spokesperson said.
The law says that an elected member cannot hold an office of profit. Union Home Ministry sources said the President's "no" to the Bill will mean their immediate disqualification and fresh elections for their seats.
Mr Kejriwal argues that his lawmakers are working free of cost as parliamentary secretaries "looking after power supply, water supply, functioning of hospitals and schools" and as such hold no office of profit.
"It doesn't matter whether they take emoluments or not; the post is that of profit and earlier MPs like Jaya Bachchan had to resign in similar cases," said the Congress' Ajay Maken, demanding by-polls at the soonest.
But AAP said there is no question of fresh elections till the Election Commission, to which the President referred the matter, has made a decision. The President's letter has also been sent to the Law Department of the Delhi government, which may now seek legal recourse, said sources.
AAP had swept the Delhi assembly election last year winning 67 seats of the 70 seats. The BJP has won three, the Congress none.