New Delhi: Accusing the BJP and Congress of double standards, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday again took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of Parliamentary Secretaries, saying it was "legal" when they did it and "illegal" when his government did so.
"I request Modiji with folded hands," Kejriwal told the media, literally folding his hands. "Your fight is with me. Beat me if you wish, do whatever you want to me but do not harass the people of Delhi.
"Don't try to stop the good work being done in Delhi," he added.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said that the 21 AAP legislators appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries by the Delhi government were its "eyes, ears and hands".
"It is with their help that our government is functioning," he said. "These Parliamentary Secretaries put in a lot of effort behind all the development work we do."
He also asked why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress were questioning his government for appointing MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries when they themselves did so when they ruled Delhi.
Taking the names of former chief ministers, Kejriwal said BJP leader Sahib Singh Verma appointed a legislator, Nand Kishore Garg, as Parliamentary Secretary in 1997.
"It is okay when the BJP does it. But when the AAP does it, it becomes unconstitutional."
Kejriwal said his own predecessor Sheila Dixit had appointed Ajay Maken, now the president of the Congress in Delhi, as her Parliamentary Secretary when she was the chief minister.
Kejriwal said that after taking power in February 2015, he decided to ask some of his legislators, who included doctors and engineers, to work as Parliamentary Secretaries.
He reiterated that these Parliamentary Secretaries were not being paid any money for the extra work they do.
The chief minister left the press conference after making his statement.
Kejriwal's outburst came after President Pranab Mukherjee reportedly rejected a proposed legislation by the Delhi government to exempt the post of Parliamentary Secretary from the purview of "office-of-profit".
This triggered the Congress and BJP criticism of the Kejriwal government amid reports that the 21 legislators face disqualification for holding the Parliamentary Secretary posts.
The president's approval would have validated the appointments by the city government.