Unless the high court stays Sunday’s government notification disqualifying 20 lawmakers from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Delhi stares at another round of bypolls in six months.
The seats under spotlight are largely considered AAP strongholds where its leaders won by margins ranging from 1,500 (Najafgarh) and 67,900 (Burari) in 2015. However, the contest is still likely to be interesting as it would provide another opportunity for BJP and Congress to test waters in Delhi months ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said AAP got 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly by God’s grace because after three years, 20 of his party’s MLAs were going to be declared disqualified.
“I have always said that it was God’s grace. He also knew that after three years these people would declare 20 of our MLAs disqualified. That’s why he gave us 67 seats out of 70 in the Delhi Assembly polls,” he said, in a statement on the Aam Aadmi Party’s Twitter handle.
His remarks came after President Ram Nath Kovind approved Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs on the charges of holding office of profit.
“They (BJP-led Centre) have tremendously victimised us by imposing fake cases on our MLAs. They conducted CBI raids on me and didn’t get anything and today they declared 20 of our MLAs disqualified,” Kejriwal said in another tweet.
He said the party will now approach the high court against this “extremely unconstitutional, unethical and biased decision of the EC”.
“If required we will go to the Supreme Court. The Constitution is supreme and is the law of the land and has been protected by our Judiciary time and again.”
Following Kovind’s approval, the Union Law and Justice Ministry issued a notification saying that the President has held that the 20 members of Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified under 15 (1) (a) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) act.
The Election Commission had on Friday recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries, giving its opinion to the President on a complaint by advocate Prashant Patel, a member of the Hindu Legal Cell, in June 2015, who petitioned then President Pranab Mukherjee alleging the appointments were illegal and in violation of the Constitution.