Former Delhi minister Kapil Mishra lost his Assembly membership Friday, with Speaker Ram Niwas Goel disqualifying the AAP MLA from Karawal Nagar for having campaigned for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Mishra is the first MLA to be disqualified since the Delhi Legislative Assembly came into being in 1993.
Following a meteoric rise in AAP, Mishra had a bitter fallout with the party’s top leadership, after he was dropped from the Delhi Cabinet in May 2017 for alleged non-performance.
Mishra said he will move the court against the order, which retrospectively disqualified him from January 27, 2019.
The Speaker initiated disqualification proceedings against Mishra after AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj moved a motion seeking his removal as an MLA on July 1. Subsequently, a series of hearings were held, with Mishra even seeking disqualification of CM Arvind Kejriwal at one point. He also questioned the neutrality of the Speaker multiple times.
In his 26-page order, Speaker Goel dwelt at length on the allegations, accusing Mishra of routinely using “intemperate language” against him.
“All this evidence unmistakably show the respondent was actively involved in the BJP’s political activities. These activities were clearly contrary to the interests of the AAP legislature party in the Assembly, given that the BJP is effectively the Opposition in the Assembly. All the evidence on record show that he is actively working for the Opposition party in the Assembly, none of which he actually denies,” states the order.
Bhardwaj’s allegations against Mishra included the latter’s presence in a January 27 event against Kejriwal, organised by senior BJP leader Vijay Goel and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari. On May 2, he also launched a campaign, ‘saaton seatein Modi ko’ (all seven seats to Modi), the petition alleged. It also lists Mishra’s tweet appealing to people to join PM Modi’s May 8 public rally in Delhi and added that he was one of the signatories to BJP’s letters to Lt Governor Anil Baijal against the AAP government.
On neutrality, the Speaker clarified that the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution vests “adjudicatory authority solely on the Speaker/Chairman of legislative house. The tenth schedule does not bar Speaker/Chairman from being a member of political parties.”
Reacting to the development, Mishra said he was ready to “sacrifice” the post of an MLA, “not just once, but a hundred times” to campaign for Modi. “In Assembly polls, I will run a campaign for all 70 seats to Modi. The way this case has been heard is a mockery of Assembly proceedings. I will move court against this illegal order,” Mishra said.