The Election Commission has reportedly recommended that 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs embroiled in the office of profit case be disqualified. While this has given the Opposition a weapon to attack the Delhi government with the Congress saying that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has lost the right to rule Delhi and BJP questioning the party's moral right to continue in government, the AAP will still remain the party with the maximum seats in the Delhi Assembly even after disqualification.
AAP has 66 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi Assembly and even if the 20 MLAs are disqualified, the party will not lose its majority. The other four seats are held by the BJP. The party will still stay above the half-way mark of 35. This will however, pave way for a by-election in Delhi. This will be a mini Assembly election of sorts and will be seen as a test for the Kejriwal government.
The challenge for the party however, as some senior AAP leaders told The Indian Express, is that some of the disqualified MLAs such as Alka Lamba and Adarsh Shastri, along with transport minister Kailash Gehlot, are some of their best performers and among the prominent political faces.
The entire issue came into existence when the Arvind Kejriwal government passed an order appointing 21 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries. This was challenged by Advocate Prashant Patel who petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee on 19 June, 2015, that these MLAs were holding 'office of profit' and should be disqualified.
The Delhi Legislative Assembly then passed the Delhi Member of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) (Amendment Bill ), 2015 excluding Parliamentary Secretaries from "office of profit" with retrospective effect, reported News18.
However, the president withheld assent to the amendment bill and referred the matter to the Election Commission.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 19:20 PM