AAP has written to Delhi Assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel seeking disqualification of two MLAs, Devinder Sehrawat and Anil Bajpai, for joining the BJP while being elected members from AAP. Sehrawat, who is the Bijwasan MLA, and Bajpai, who is the MLA from Gandhi Nagar, joined the BJP on May 6 and May 3 respectively, days before the Lok Sabha polls.
Goel confirmed the development. “A notice has been issued to both under the Anti-Defection law. They have to respond by June 24, failing which they will be disqualified,” he said, adding that both had been issued a notice Wednesday, after AAP national spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj lodged a complaint against them.
This is the first time the party has sought disqualification of any of its MLAs despite others rebelling against the party.
While Sehrawat also confirmed the development, Bajpai could not be reached. “Anil Bajpai and I received a notice from the deputy secretary of the Delhi Assembly, quoting a complaint from Bhardwaj, late in the evening today. It asked why we should not be disqualified, considering we had shared the stage with BJP leaders on a few occasions. The point is, we have not formally joined the BJP. We never signed the membership forms. This is public knowledge. We will contest this tooth and nail,” he said.
“The complaint doesn’t fulfil the grounds for disqualification. The Anti-Defection law comes into force when an MLA/MP crosses the floor of the house… Sharing a stage cannot invite disqualification. In the past, BJP MPs Kirti Azad and Shatrughan Sinha have shared the stage with AAP leaders but it never invited disqualification. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has also shared stage with Congress leaders in the past,” Sehrawat said.
Bhardwaj did not respond to calls seeking a comment. According to sources, the complaint by him points to instances of the two MLAs sharing a stage with BJP leaders and declaring publicly that they had joined BJP.
In March, Sultanpur Majra MLA Sandeep Kumar had spoken from a stage where Congress leaders were present. Sacked from his post as a minister in 2016, after allegations of sexually exploiting a woman were made against him, Kumar made his willingness to join the Congress public.
Kapil Mishra, Karawal Nagar MLA and former water minister, also rebelled in 2017 and has been seen with BJP leaders regularly. Mishra said he had not received any such notice: “It is tough for the party to seek my disqualification as I have not joined any other party.”
Sehrawat said he has reached out to lawyers and constitutional experts regarding the notice.