New Delhi, Jan 20: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today challenged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to prove that the MLAs, it has recommended for disqualification, even got Re 1 or a house or a car as their salaries. Speaking to news agency ANI, one of the disqualified AAP MLAs in ‘office of profit’ case Jarnail Singh said, “We are ready to go to any court and if there is no option we will go to the people’s court.” Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia claimed that there was no hearing held in the office of profit allegations. “There was no hearing, we were not given a chance to explain our stand. We appeal to the President to hear our view too, MLAs will meet President also,” Sisodia said.
Earlier in the day, Delhi unit chief Gopal Rai alleged that the election poll panel did not give the ruling party a hearing before sending its disqualification recommendations to President Ram Nath Kovind. “It is an undemocratic step. They are taking revenge from people of Delhi, the government and Chief Minister of Delhi” he said. Rai also said that the appointment of parliamentary secretaries had come up in a total of 11 states but only Aam Aadmi Party is being targetted. “This is double standard. Doesn’t the constitution apply to all? We are being victimised. It is worse than British Raj,” he said, adding, “we are not afraid of the elections.” (ALSO READ: Office of Profit Case: Kumar Vishwas Calls it ‘Unfortunate’, Says His Suggestions Were Ignored)
The AAP leader also said that recommending disqualification 20 of AAP’s MLAs was the CEC Achal Kumar Joti’s parting gift to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs was his gift to Modi. What is the reason for this gift? Why has it been given? Aam Aadmi Party and the country want to know this,” Rai said. “Everyone in the country has only one question on their mind: What was the compulsion for him to take the decision with only two days to retire?” Rai asked.
While the party has been defending itself since the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs on grounds of holding the office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries, sidelined AAP leader Kumar Vishwas took a jibe at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saying he had given certain suggestions earlier but he was told it’s the CM’s prerogative to appoint people. “It’s very unfortunate and sad that the Election Commission has recommended 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs be disqualified from the Delhi Assembly for holding offices of profit. I had given certain suggestions earlier but I was told it’s the CM’s prerogative to appoint people so I kept quiet,” he said, ANI reported.
On Friday, January 19, in a major setback to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and the ruling party, the EC recommended disqualification of 20 party MLAs for holding “office of profit”. While there was no official word from the poll panel, the sources said that the recommendations have been sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for further action, who is bound to act in accordance with the poll panel’s recommendation.
The MLAs recommended for disqualification by the Election Commission are Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh. Jarnail Singh resigned to contest the Punjab Assembly Elections 2017.
Reacting to the allegations and recommendations, Delhi CM Kejriwal took to Twitter and said, “In the end, truth prevails.” “When you take the path of truth and honesty, you are expected to face hurdles. But all the visible and invisible powers in the universe come together to help you. God helps you. Because not for yourself, you work for the country and the society. History is the witness that in the end, the truth prevails,” he posted on social media.