NEW DELHI: Citing precedents, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today strongly defended the appointment of 21 parliamentray secretaries, wondering how similar posts under Congress and BJP rule were not considered "unconstitutional" and targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.
The Chief Minister dug out appointments of parliamentary secretaries by Congress and BJP governments in the national capital in the past and said many of them including Ajay Maken, who had held the post, even had his own staff and access to important official files.
"I want to request Modiji with folded hands not to trouble the people of Delhi. Your fight is with me. Beat me or take as much revenge as you want against me. But do not try to stop good work in Delhi which is being praised world-wide including by the UN," Kejriwal told a press conference.
In 1953, he said, Delhi had three parliamentray secretaries -- HKL Bhagat, Kumari Shanta Vasisth and Shiv Charan Dasgupta while governments headed by BJP's Sahib Singh Verma and Congress' Sheila Dikshit appointed a number of MLAs to the posts.
"Then it was constitutional and when we do it, it turns out to be unconstitutional. What is this, if not double standards ?" Kejriwal asked and went on to assert that the 21 Parliamentary Secretaries are "eyes, ears and hands" of the AAP government who have been tasked with important duties.
"They are highly qualified people in different fields, starting from MBA to engineering and not illiterates like in other parties. Mohalla Clinics are product of their hard work so is the mapping of schools," said Kejriwal.
Reacting to Kejriwal's assertion, Dikshit wondered whether the Delhi CM was implying that the President is "also hostile" to him.
Maken, in his reaction, said appointing 21 MLAs to the posts was unprecedented and Kejriwal cannot hide behind a few appointments in the past.
The fate of 21 AAP MLAs, appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries, hangs in balance after President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give his assent to a bill passed by the Delhi Assembly last year seeking amendment to the existing law to insulate the legislators from the purview of the office of profit law.
The Election Commission is currently examining petitions seeking disqualification of the legislators. The Commission had sought replies from the MLAs in question.