Setback for Arvind Kejriwal: President Kovind approves disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

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Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday accepted the recommendation of the Election Commission and disqualified the 20 legislators of Aam Aadmi Party in connection with the "office of profit" case.

Ever since the party came into power post re-elections in 2015, a controversy over the AAP MLAs holding "office of profit" as parliamentary secretaries starting brewing.

The MLAs who are facing the axe are: Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).

On Saturday, the Election Commission had written to Kovind asking him to disqualify the 20 MLAs for holding offices of profit while occupying the posts of parliamentary secretaries. In other states, wherever the Parliamentary Secretaries were appointed, they were given the status of minister of state and all facilities were given to them.

The ruling AAP has a massive majority in the Delhi Assembly with 67 out of 70 seats.

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The court was referring to the MLAs' petitions filed in August 2017 challenging the poll panel's decision to continue hearing a complaint against them for allegedly holding an office of profit.

The AAP said it would move the high court and Supreme Court if necessary.

September 8, 2016: The Delhi High Court sets aside order appointing 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries observing that their appointment orders were issued without the concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

Gopal Rai, the president of the Delhi unit of the AAP, claimed "victimisation" and asserted the party was "not afraid of elections". "Election Commission's recommendation has made disqualification of AAP MLAs a certainty".

The Congress reacted to the development by alleging that the AAP had received help from the BJP and the Election Commission. "These are constitutional bodies whose mandate is to obey law", said BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi.