The South Asian Times

16 January 2019 15:36 PM

Kejriwal should quit on 'moral grounds': Congress, BJP demand


New Delhi, Jan 19: After the Election Commission on Friday recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind that 20 AAP MLAs did hold office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries and hence are liable to be disqualified, both Congress and BJP demanded that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should resign.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Sambit Patra said Kejriwal had "perhaps assumed" that there was no Constitution of India "just like there is no constitution in his party".

"Na khata na bahi, jo kahe Kejriwal wahi sahi (whatever Kejriwal says is the rule). On this basis, the party and his government function. But for the first time, the Constitution of India has shown him the mirror," Patra said.

"He got a mandate of 67 seats but it resulted in arrogance of number. He (Kejriwal) has stabbed the public in the back and their aspirations and expectations," the BJP spokesman added.

He said that with 20 MLAs disqualified, half of the Cabinet Ministers out on corruption charges, one Minister (Satyendar Jain) facing serious allegations and criminal cases against a dozen of other MLAs, "does the Delhi Chief Minister have any moral authority to continue in the government".

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken also voiced similar sentiments.

"Kejriwal has no right to continue. Half of his Cabinet Ministers were removed on corruption charges. Twenty MLAs who were enjoying ministerial perks would be disqualified," Maken said in a tweet.

He added: "Where is Lokpal? The MLAs and Ministers enjoying perks of power and foreign travel. Where is political probity?"

The AAP legislators were accused of being appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries to assist various Ministers of the Delhi government in violation of constitutional norms.

Initially, the case was against 21 MLAs, but the number now stands at 20 after Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh resigned to contest against Parkash Singh Badal in the Punjab Assembly elections in 2017.

Vijender Gupta, a BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, said it was "a huge moral defeat" for the Chief Minister and hence, he should resign on ethical grounds.

"Better late than never, EC disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit. The AAP government has much to answer to the public for their political impropriety as Delhi is headed for mid-term elections," he tweeted.

"Will request President (Ram Nath Kovind) for speedy approval."

As the office of the President is constitutionally bound to go by the poll panel's advice, the disqualification of the 20 AAP legislators seems a foregone conclusion.

However, the AAP said that it did not accept the "office of profit" argument as none of the MLAs took any perks (vehicle, office, accommodation or fee, etc.) in their capacity as Parliamentary Secretaries, and that the legal options were still open for the MLAs facing disqualification.

Update: 19 Jan, 2018