With the President holding assent to a bill that protects 21 AAP MLAs, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of indulging in political vendetta and said the BJP is “scared” of AAP and unable to digest its defeat in Delhi.
In a jolt to the AAP government, President Pranab Mukherjee has refused to give assent to a legislation that protects 21 party MLAs, who have been appointed Parliamentary Secretaries, and face the prospect of disqualification. “We have given additional responsibilities to our MLAs but they are working for free. Our notification says that they are not entitled to any remuneration, perks, facilities or services from the government,” Kejriwal told reporters.
“If they are working for free, what is troubling Modiji? If all people are disqualified and made to sit at home, what will they (Centre) derive from this. Modiji hasn’t been able to digest defeat in Delhi and that is why they are doing all this to not let us work,” he added.
The Chief Minister further questioned why Parliamentary Secretaries of other states have not been disqualified. “There are Parliamentary Secretaries in Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, West Bengal and across the country. Those in Punjab get Rs 1 lakh per month, car and bungalow as well. But they have not been disqualified. Why only Delhi? Because he (Modi) is scared of Aam Aadmi Party,” he said.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s role in the process as the bill has been turned down by the President and not him, Kejriwal said, “President does not take any decision. Probably the file doesn’t even go to him. The decision is taken by the government and Home Ministry decided this”. Petitions have been filed with the President seeking disqualification of these MLAs on the ground that they occupied office of profit violating constitutional provisions.
Acting as a quasi judicial body, the Election Commission to whom the President referred the issue, had sought replies of the MLAs. The Delhi Government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997. Through the Bill, the AAP government wanted “retrospective” exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions.
The Bill was forwarded by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to the Centre, which in turn was sent to the President with its comments. After examining the issue, the President has not given his assent to the Bill, official sources said on Monday. On March 13, 2015, Kejriwal had passed an order appointing the 21 party MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries.