New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI) Buoyed by the Delhi High Court verdict restoring the membership of its 20 legislators, the Aam Aadmi Party said today it has won the “perception battle” in the office-of-profit case and now will take the matter to the people.
AAP’s Delhi unit chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said all the 20 party MLAs will meet people in their respective constituencies and explain to them how they were “targeted”.
The remarks set the stage for a long political battle between the AAP and the opposition parties, mainly the BJP.
The Delhi unit of the BJP was at the forefront to demand the disqualification of the MLAs for holding ‘office-of-profit’ after they were appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist Delhi ministers in 2015.
The saffron party and the Congress had demanded that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resign on moral grounds after the EC recommended the President in January this year to disqualify them.
The AAP had defended their appointment, saying they did not avail any perks or salaries, and that their appointments were only aimed at aiding the Delhi government ministers.
However today, another AAP leader cautioned that the Delhi High Court’s decision may have given them a temporary relief but the lawmakers are still not out of the woods.
Though the high court set aside the disqualification of the legislators, it also directed the Election Commission to hear the issue afresh. The MLAs will now have to prepare themselves for another round of hearings before the Election Commission.
One never knows what decision the Election Commission will give. So, till that time, we have to keep our fingers crossed, said a senior AAP leader.
The leader pointed out that time would be another factor as the MLAs have completed three years of their five-year tenure and completing the second round process before the EC will also take time.
Whatever may be the outcome, we have won the perception battle that we are being targeted. Not only in Delhi but across the country the message has gone out lout that constitutional institutions are being distorted, Bharadwaj added.
Madan Lal, one of the 20 AAP MLAs whose membership was revoked, said people are already convinced that the party was being targeted and the court’s decision today says it all.
Delivering the verdict, the high court termed the recommendations by the EC as “vitiated” and “bad in law”.
The AAP MLAs also had a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence to discuss the decision by the high court.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.