TERMING the disqualification of 20 of its MLAs an effort to derail the development work being done by the Delhi government, senior AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that he expected relief from the Delhi High Court.
“The decision to disqualify the MLAs is an insult to the people of Delhi who elected these people. It is nothing but a conspiracy to derail the work being done by the government in the fields of education and health. The entire city will soon be covered with CCTV cameras… We have seen instances in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, where the judiciary did justice. We have faith in the judiciary,” Sisodia said.
The Election Commission (EC) had, last week, recommended that the 20 MLAs who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries, be disqualified as they were holding offices of profit. The President, too, gave his nod to the recommendation.With 20 MLAs disqualified, Delhi is staring at byelections on these seats.
Sisodia said, “AAP is always election-ready. We spend our time among people and are always reachable. But our fight today is not to save the seats or the party or the government. We are asking why elections should be imposed on the people of Delhi and why must they be made to suffer over political vendetta.” He, however, refused to talk about the candidate selection. “These conversations are in the realm of ifs and buts. We believe that the judiciary will grant us relief. I don’t think a byelection will be imposed on the people of Delhi. If elections are held, the BJP will find it very difficult to go out and ask for votes. The people of Delhi are watching everything that is happening. They can see how their lives are being adversely affected by the tactics of the BJP,” he said.
Tuesday also saw hectic meetings among senior party leaders, lawyers and MLAs as they readied their stance for the High Court hearing scheduled for Wednesday. On Monday, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat had told The Indian Express that the AAP MLAs did not request the EC for hearing in the matter.
Sisodia, however, said, “This is against the basic principle of justice. Since the time that the matter is being heard by the EC, three things were being debated. The first was whether the BJP and Congress can implead in the case. The second was whether the plea against the MLAs was maintainable since the High Court had set aside the appointments. The third was whether the post of Parliamentary Secretaries can be counted as an office of profit.
When we appointed the 20 MLAs, we made it clear in the notification that they will be given no pecuniary benefits. They didn’t get cars, houses, or remuneration. Had we been given a chance to say all of this, the case would not have withstood the test of law. But this chance was never given.”
According to the EC, the AAP MLAs were served two notices, one in September and one in November and were asked to submit written submissions regarding the case. “These (two) notices were issued only for that (purpose). If they felt the need or imperative for oral evidences, then they should have pointed it out and we would have fixed a date for hearing. But you (AAP) are not talking of that. You are talking of something that is already known to the Commission,” Rawat had told The Indian Express on Monday.
Talking about Parliamentary Secretaries in other states, Sisodia said there should be equality in the way decisions are made. “Our Madhya Pradesh unit head has flagged the issue of there being parliamentary secretaries in the state as well. We are not against people being appointed on this post but with action not being taken in an equal manner,” he said.