NEW DELHI: Three years after his party swept the assembly elections in Delhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is thanking providence. The magnitude of the sweep created a buffer that helped maintain his majority in the Delhi Assembly even after the disqualification of 20 lawmakers over the office of profit controversy. Twenty is less than a third of Aam Aadmi Party’s strength in the Delhi assembly. The party won 67 of Delhi’s 70 seats in the 2015 assembly elections.
Today, shortly after President Ram Nath Kovind signed off on the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify the lawmakers, the Aam Aadmi Party chief tweeted, “I have always said all this is God’s miracle. He must have known that these people will disqualify our 20 MLAs after 3 years, probably that’s why God gave us 67 out of 70 seats”.
Mr Kejriwal’s finger appears to be pointed at the BJP. He has already accused the outgoing Election Commissioner AK Joti of accommodating the BJP, calling his recommendation his “parting gift to PM Modi”.
“They victimised us, slapped fake cases on our legislators, got the CBI to conduct raids on me, but they found nothing. At last today, they disqualified 20 of our MLAs,” Mr Kejriwal further said.
While he has not named anyone, the outspoken Chief Minister has earlier repeatedly accused the BJP-led Central government of engineering the obstacles for him and his government. Mr Kejriwal’s key lieutenant, senior party leader Ashutosh has already called the President’s nod to Election Commission’s recommendation “unconstitutional and dangerous for democracy”.
The party contends that the 20 lawmakers, who the Election Commission says illegally held government posts, were not allowed to present a defense. According to the provisions of office of profit, elected representatives are not allowed to hold positions in the government without specific laws that allow them to do so.
COMMENTSElected lawmakers already get a salary from the government. Additional jobs therefore are considered profit, since these have an added salary. AAP says the jobs – as parliamentary secretaries – carried no remuneration, which was why no law had been broken.
The party has said it would take the legal route and go up to Supreme Court if necessary. ” The Constitution is supreme and is the law of the land and has been protected by our Judiciary time and again,” Mr Kejriwal said.