Disqualification of MLAs a 'parting gift' from CEC Joti to PM, says AAP
NEW DELHI: The Election Commission's (EC) decision to disqualify 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs for holding offices of profit was a parting gift by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) AK Joti to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said here on Saturday.
Addressing media persons here, Rai said the party will also launch a campaign against the BJP-led Centre's decisions to allow FDI in retail and the sealing drive in the city.
On Friday, the EC recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries, triggering calls for resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The President is bound to act in accordance with the poll panel's recommendation.
The news triggered extreme anguish from AAP, which said that the CEC was "repaying the debt" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi before his retirement.
"He (Joti) is going to retire on January 23, once he turns 65, and thus, he is swiftly doing all this before retiring," alleged Rai.
"The disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs was his gift to Modi. What is the reason for this gift? Why it has been given? AAP and the country want to know this," Rai asked.
He added that Joti was the Principal Secretary of Gujarat, when Modi was the state's Chief Minister, as well as Modi's closest officer.
Rai also rubbished claims that AAP MLAs were given multiple chances to appear before the EC and said that lies were being spread in the media.
Rai said that all notices given by the EC were replied to by AAP's lawyers, adding that even during the British Raj, people were heard before being punished.
Holding out a purported order from the EC, Rai said that the poll watchdog had not given a date of hearing for the AAP MLAs, after March 13, 2017.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, on his Twitter handle, said on Saturday, "The Delhi government is working on fast track. The Opposition BJP is scared of the Delhi government work and progress and are indulging in political vendetta. They tried to frame us, threaten us and are now disqualifying us.,
"Those who are accused have been ruled without hearing their favor, it is happening for the first time in India's history. EC did not conduct hearing of the MLAs and sent recommendation," he further said.
The EC had given its opinion to the President on a complaint filed by advocate Prashant Patel, a member of the Hindu Legal Cell, in June 2015, who petitioned then President Pranab Mukherjee alleging illegality in the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries.
Later on Friday, the Delhi High Court refused to grant interim relief to AAP MLAs against the EC's recommendation.
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