New Delhi: Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia penned an open letter to Delhiites on Monday, terming the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs in the Office of Profit case as “BJP’s dirty politics”.
Sharing the open letter on Twitter, Sisodia said the central government has “imposed” bypolls on 20 Assembly constituencies, effectively halting all development works in the national capital for two years.
“They have imposed bypolls in Delhi by disqualifying 20 MLAs. The Model Code of Conduct will come into force and all government works will come to a halt. After that Lok Sabha elections will be held. Again the Model Code of Conduct will come into force and works would stop. The same will happen when Assembly elections are held…. By imposing these bypolls on 20 Delhi constituencies, the BJP has stopped all development works in Delhi for the next two years. And public money will be wasted in the bypolls,” Sisodia wrote.
The MLAs were disqualified on Sunday after President Ram Nath Kovind approved an Election Commission recommendation. The 20 lawmakers were appointed by the Arvind Kejriwal government as parliamentary secretaries, which are deemed as Office of Profits. Parliamentary Secretaries assist ministers with their work.
Sisodia, however, maintained there was no conflict as the MLAs in question did not receive any perks for holding the parliamentary secretary positions.
दिल्ली की जनता के लिए मेरा एक पत्र— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) January 22, 2018
क्या चुने हुए विधायकों को इस तरह गैर-संवैधानिक और गैर-कानूनी तरीके से बर्खास्त करना सही है?
क्या दिल्ली को इस तरह चुनावों में धकेलना ठीक है?
क्या ये गंदी राजनीति नहीं है? pic.twitter.com/9QzU52bTay
“We had appointed these 20 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries and given them different responsibilities. For instance, one MLAs was given the responsibility of public schools. The MLA visited these schools to check if teachers were present and everything was running smoothly. Another was given the responsibility of public hospitals… For their work as parliamentary secretaries, these MLAs were not given government vehicles, bungalows or salaries. These MLAs spent from their own pockets to carry out this work. They rose from the (anti-corruption) movement and wanted to work for the nation,” the AAP leader said.
“When these MLAs didn’t receive any benefits, then how were these positions construed as Office of Profit? These MLAs requested the Election Commission to hear them out… The EC told them on June 23 (last year) that they would be given a date. But the MLAs were not given a date and now the Centre has disqualified them without a hearing or evidence.”
The deputy CM accused the BJP-led Centre of being “unfair” to the people of Delhi, saying the Saffron party’s graph had been “rapidly falling”. “All sections are angry at it — Dalits, farmers, traders, labourers, youth, students and minorities.”
Sisodia concluded the letter with an appeal to Delhiites to “teach a fitting lesson” to the BJP.
The AAP has approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on EC's recommendation and the court is listed the case for a hearing on Monday. While, the BJP welcomed the president's decision and demanded Kejriwal's resignation on moral grounds, the Congress alleged that there was a deal between the BJP and the AAP due to which the EC delayed the disqualification recommendation by a month.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "There was some logic when God gave us 67 seats. The Almighty stood behind us in our every step. Otherwise we would have been nothing... Just don't stray away from the path of truth."
ऊपर वाले ने 67 सीट कुछ सोच कर ही दी थी।— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 21, 2018
हर क़दम पर ऊपर वाला आम आदमी पार्टी के साथ है, नहीं तो हमारी औक़ात ही क्या थी। बस सच्चाई का मार्ग मत छोड़ना।
Interestingly, BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha backed the AAP with the former saying the decision depicts "tughluqshahi" of the worst order.
President's order disqualifying the 20 AAP MLAs is complete miscarriage of natural justice. No hearing, no waiting for High Court's order. It is Tughluqshahi of the worst order.— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) January 21, 2018
‘AAP’ Aaye,— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) January 21, 2018
‘AAP’ hi ‘AAP’ Charcha ke Vishaye (talk of the town)!!
Ghar ghar mein,
Har khabar mein,
Toh phir kis baat ki fikar ‘AAP’ ko?
Politics of vendetta or politics of vested interests just don’t last long.
Don’t worry, be happy!
The 20 MLAs disqualified include, Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) — who is also a minister — Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura).
If AAP fails to get reprieve from the courts, Delhi will have bypolls for the 20 seats. The only technical aspect was that now the Delhi Assembly Speaker will have to notify the 20 vacancies for the EC to announce the bypolls.
Once the vacancies are announced by the Assembly, the AAP's strength would go down to 46 from 66 in the 70-member House. However, it will continue to have a majority to run the state.
(With PTI inputs)