NEW DELHI: The 20 disqualified AAP MLAs filed a fresh petition in the Delhi High Court challenging their disqualification on Tuesday, a day after withdrawing their previous petition. The matter is to be heard by the court on Wednesday.
President Ram Nath Kovind had approved the Election Commission’s recommendation of disqualifying the legislators for hold offices of profit by virtue of being appointed parliamentary secretaries.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had appointed 21 MLAs as parliament secretaries after his party swept the 2015 assembly elections. Kejriwal was mandated to appoint only a limited number of ministers. AAP, however, insists that despite being parliamentary secretaries, its MLAs did not reap any benefits from the post. On Monday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia penned an open letter to the citizens of Delhi and questioned the EC’s recommendations. “Is it fair to push Delhi into an election like this? Is it justified to remove elected lawmakers in this unconstitutional and illegal manner? Isn't it dirty politics?” he tweeted.
On Wednesday, if the court does not reverse the EC’s order, bypolls would be held in all the 20 constituencies. However, AAP’s majority in the assembly will still remain intact as the party has 66 of the 70 seats in the assembly.
Meanwhile, the BJP and Congress have urged Kejriwal to resign on moral grounds. Delhi Congress chief has also accused the BJP and the AAP being hand-in-hand and questioned the EC’s delay in recommending the disqualification. “The EC delayed the disqualification only to allow the AAP to elect Rajya Sabha members,” he had said.