Former Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta and former mayor Aarti Mehra on Tuesday approached the High Court challenging the election of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Law Minister Somnath Bharti. They claimed that AAP had indulged in “corrupt practices” by concealing facts and giving a “false declaration” in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections. The election petition is expected to come up for hearing on Monday.
Sources also say that a similar petition challenging AAP MLA Surender Singh’s election is also likely to be filed by Wednesday, as it is the last day for filing an election petition. Gupta had fought and lost the election against Kejriwal from the New Delhi constituency, while Mehra had lost to Bharti from Malviya Nagar.
The petitions alleged that Kejriwal and Bharti neglected to submit a complete record of expenses incurred in organising a music concert at Jantar Mantar on November 23.
The Delhi Election Commission had issued a showcause notice to Kejriwal and the AAP in December for allegedly exceeding the expenditure limit prescribed for a candidate.
The party in its reply to the EC had claimed that the expenditure on the ‘Rock the Ballot Concert’ was a “party expenditure” and not that of a single candidate.
However, in an order issued on December 3, the District Election Officer had held that “the value of the service in kind is the part of the expenditure”.
He said the total expenditure on the concert was over Rs 39 lakh and not Rs 14 lakh as declared by the AAP. The DEO said the expenditure incurred on the concert would be divided between Kejriwal, Bharti and Surender Singh as they had been present on the dais with the performers.
The BJP leaders have now claimed the AAP candidates had flouted the mandate of the Representation of the People Act and that their election be declared “null and void”.
Under the provisions of the Act, if the allegations in the election petition are found to be correct, the court can declare the election null and void and a re-election would be ordered.