Prez disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs

Prez disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs

In a big blow to Delhi-'s ruling AAP, President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved the Election Commission-'s recommendation to disqualify 20 of its...

New Delhi: In a big blow to Delhi's ruling AAP, President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved the Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify 20 of its MLAs in the office of profit case. While the BJP hailed the move, the AAP said it would approach the courts against it.

The Congress, however, accused the BJP and the Election Commission for delaying the disqualification to help AAP get its nominees elected to the Rajya Sabha.

Following the President's approval, the Union Law and Justice Ministry issued a notification saying that the President has held that the 20 members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified under 15 (1) (a) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Act.

These 20 MLAs are Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh.

The Election Commission on Friday recommended disqualification of the 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 against the appointments.

The application by Patel said 21 AAP MLAs, including Jarnail Singh (Rajouri Garden) who resigned to contest the Punjab Assembly polls last year, were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries to Ministers in the Delhi government in violation of the law and Constitution.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit welcomed the approval, saying the decision had contributed to the protection of democratic values. "With his speedy decision, the President has made a major contribution towards protecting democratic values. "People of Delhi feel that these AAP MLAs must return all financial benefits they have taken after the date on which a circular on their appointment and facilities was issued," said state party chief Manoj Tiwari.

Congress Delhi chief Ajay Maken said that if the decision of disqualification had come earlier, the AAP could not have been able to get its candidates elected to the Rajya Sabha.

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