The Election Commission “helped” the AAP by delaying its recommendation for disqualifying 20 of the party’s MLAs for holding offices of profit and enabled it in sending three candidates to the Rajya Sabha, the Congress today alleged. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken also tried to suggest that the BJP had a role in the delay but offered no evidence.
“The EC on the instance of the BJP delayed its recommendation by a month and helped the Aam Aadmi Party. Had the recommendation come before the Rajya Sabha election, the AAP would have split due to the internal rift,” Maken claimed.
For the second day in a row, Maken attacked the AAP after the EC recommended that 20 AAP legislators be disqualified for holding offices of profit. Yesterday, Maken had demanded Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation on moral grounds. Today, he said the AAP faced opposition from within over its nominees for the Rajya Sabha and the party would have possibly split had the EC’s recommendation was announced last month when the party had decided the nominees.
“We want to ask Arvind Kejriwal about the connivance between him and the BJP, which was behind the delay in disqualification recommendation,” he said.
The AAP leadership’s decision to send two new faces to the Rajya Sabha, along with party leader Sanjay Singh, was resented by its senior leader Kumar Vishwas. Maken also claimed that the 20 MLAs, who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries, enjoyed facilities such as office space and remuneration. He gave copies of Delhi government’s chief secretaries communication with the EC, saying the MLAs were allotted rooms in the Assembly. “IT department informed that Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri, who was parliamentary secretary to IT minister, was paid Rs 15,479 for attending a meeting,” he said citing the papers.
According to highly-placed sources, in its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, the EC has said the MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015, and September 8, 2016, held offices of profit and were liable to be disqualified as legislators. Once the president accepts the opinion, by-elections will have to be held for the 20 Assembly seats.
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