‘PM Unable To Digest Delhi Defeat’: Arvind Kejriwal After Key Bill Is Rejected

Arvind Kejriwal has unleashed a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a bill designed to protect 21 Aam Aadmi Party’s lawmakers who had been appointed as parliamentary secretaries by the Delhi chief minister.

The AAP lawmakers face disqualification after the President refused to clear the Delhi government’s Office of Profit Bill. Mr Kejriwal alleges he did so on the recommendation of the Modi government at the Centre.

“I want to ask Modiji is he not allowing the Delhi Government to function because he is unable to digest defeat in Delhi,” Mr Kejriwal asked.

He listed states ruled by the BJP or its allies to also ask, “Haryana, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and others have Parliament secretaries too; Why is Modiji only behind disqualifying Delhi’s Parliament Secretaries?”

An elected member violates the Constitution if he holds an office of profit. Union home ministry sources said the President’s “no” to the bill which sought to exempt the AAP lawmakers will mean their immediate disqualification and fresh elections for their seats.

Mr Kejriwal argues that his lawmakers were working free of cost as parliamentary secretaries “looking after power supply, water supply, functioning of hospitals and schools”.

AAP also says there is no question of fresh elections till the Election Commission has decided on the matter.

The President had referred the issue to the Election Commission.

The President’s letter has been sent to the Law Department of the Delhi government, which may now seek legal recourse, said sources. AAP held an emergency meeting on Monday evening to discuss next steps.

AAP had swept the Delhi assembly election last year winning 67 seats of the 70 seats.

Reacting to the Delhi chief minister’s allegations, BJP spokesperson, Sambit Patra said, “Arvind Kejriwal is trying to politicise the issue. The law should have been passed first and then parliamentary secretaries should have been appointed, but that wasn’t the case.”

“It’s the classic case of crash landing of AAP’s udta ambition,” he quipped.

Meanwhile, the Congress has also cheered the President’s decision. “We are very happy that the bill is rejected,” said the Congress’ Ajay Maken, accusing AAP of appointing parliamentary secretaries only to “get facilities and entitlements”.