20 AAP MLAs Disqualified. Mid-Term Election Expected in Delhi

MCD Election in Delhi. Photo of February 2017 by Rakesh Raman
MCD Election in Delhi. Photo of February 2017 by Rakesh Raman

If the President accepted the EC recommendation, the number of AAP MLAs will be reduced from 66 to 46 in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. In that case, an interim poll for 20 seats may be held in Delhi.

By Rakesh Raman

The Election Commission (EC) today disqualified 20 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) controlled and run by Delhi chief minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.

While the MLAs are accused of holding ‘office of profit’, the EC has sent his recommendation to President of India Ram Nath Kovind.

If the President accepted the EC recommendation, the number of AAP MLAs will be reduced from 66 to 46 in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. In that case, an interim poll for 20 seats may be held in Delhi.

Leader of opposition and BJP MLA in Delhi Vijender Gupta said, “Disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs is a huge moral defeat for Kejriwal. It has put his leadership in peril. He must resign on ethical grounds.” He added that Delhi is headed for mid-term election.

The ‘office of profit’ allegation against AAP MLAs had surfaced in 2015 when a young lawyer Prashant Patel had filed an application in the President’s office, questioning the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

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Subsequently in 2016, Congress party had filed a petition in the EC office demanding the disqualification of 21 AAP legislators. According to Congress, these positions are not in the statute books, so are not legal and have been deemed an ‘office of profit.’

As per the law, Congress said, MLAs are not allowed to hold any office of profit under the Central Government or any State / UT.

However, Kejriwal’s AAP had cried hoarse saying that these MLAs / parliamentary secretaries received no salaries. As they clambered to save themselves, AAP ignored the Supreme Court’s judgments which have clearly stated that ‘office of profit’ is not deemed by salary alone.

[ AAP Releases Annual Report Card of Delhi LG: No Work and All Play ]

Rather it is determined by perks, which undoubtedly these disqualified MLAs enjoyed under Kejriwal’s government and at the cost of the Delhi tax-payer, said Congress.

Earlier, the President of India had rejected the Bill passed by the Delhi Assembly which sought to exempt the 21 MLAs. The facade of honesty and integrity which Kejirwal and AAP have built is crumbling at the face of scrutiny, Congress had said.

Since AAP MLA Jarnail Singh had resigned from the Rajouri Garden seat to contest the Punjab Assembly election in February 2017, the case was continuing against 20 MLAs.

The 20 disqualified AAP MLAs are:

1. Praveen Kumar – Parliamentary Secretary to Education Minister

2. Sharad Kumar – Parliamentary Secretary to Revenue Minister

3. Adarsh Shastri – Parliamentary Secretary to Information and Technology Minister

4. Madan Lal – Parliamentary Secretary to Vigilance Minister

5. Shiv Charan Goel – Parliamentary Secretary to Finance Minister

6. Sanjeev Jha – Parliamentary Secretary to Transport Minister

7. Sarita Singh – Parliamentary Secretary to Employment Minister

8. Naresh Yadav – Parliamentary Secretary to Labour Minister

9. Rajesh Gupta – Parliamentary Secretary to Health Minister

10. Rajesh Rishi – Parliamentary Secretary to Health Minister

11. Anil Kumar Bajpai – Parliamentary Secretary to Health Minister

12. Som Dutt – Parliamentary Secretary to Industries Minister

13. Avtar Singh Kalka – Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Gurudwara elections

14. Vijender Garg Vijay – Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of PWD

15. 15. Jarnail Singh (Rajauri Garden) – Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Power

16. Kailash Gahlot – Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Law

17. Alka Lamba – Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Tourism

18. Manoj Kumar – Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Food and Civil Supplies

19. Nitin Tyagi – Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Women and Child and Social Welfare

20. Sukhvir Singh – Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Languages and Welfare of SC/ST/OBC

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, he was writing an exclusive edit-page tech business column (named Technophile) regularly for The Financial Express (a daily business newspaper of The Indian Express Group).

Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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