Office of profit: AAP in cahoots with BJP, alleges Congress

Posted January 23, 2018

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday evening withdrew their application from the Delhi High Court seeking interim relief for its 20 MLA's on Election Commission of India (ECI) recommendation over their disqualification to the President of India in the "office of profit".

The MLAs, whose appointment as parliamentary secretaries was questioned, told the HC that they would move fresh petitions against their disqualification from the Delhi Assembly, as their earlier pleas became infructuous after President Ram Nath Kovind put a stamp of approval on the EC's recommendation.

Ever since their election in 2015, the 20 MLAs were also working as secretaries to Ministers in the Delhi Cabinet, a post which is referred to as "parliamentary secretary".

The Aam Aadmi Party lost 20 MLAs in Delhi in the office-of-profit case because the Centre wants to stop its "good work" for the next two years, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Monday in an open letter to the people of the city. "The is now being used to destabilize the government in Delhi by the disqualification of 20 MLAs without any basis", party's national spokesman Ashutosh said here on Saturday.

The purge reduces by almost a third the number of state assembly seats held by Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which still maintains a majority.

"The decision led to calls by the Congress and BJP €" who have been demanding the disqualification €" for Kejriwal's resignation.

The AAP was elected with 66 members in the 70-member Delhi legislature and there was a huge pressure on Kejriwal for ministerial berths, so many were offered the carrots of parliamentary secretary. The Commission said the legislators violated the provisions of the Office of Profit, under which lawmakers can not hold any post in the government that entitles them to perks or powers unless a law has been passed to exempt the posts. Before AAP goes to the people's court in the bypolls, Sisodia said he has faith in the people.

AAP also pointed out that now there are legislators serving as parliamentary secretaries in 11 states, including Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka, ruled by the Congress and the BJP. But legally they appear to be in the clear, as this particular designation has been kept outside the purview of office of profit in these states. The others are Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri), Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar), Sharad Kumar (Narela), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Sukhbir Singh (Mundka), Vijendar Garg (Rajinder Nagar) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).

"It is alleged that the ECI has been used as a political weapon to disqualify the 20 AAP legislators". The opposition BJP has four members in the Assembly.

Addressing a gathering in Najafgarh on Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, "They are trying to harass us by all means. AAP will knock the doors of the High Court and even the Supreme Court if the need be".