Parliamentary Secretaries’ appointment illegal, EC should take final call: BJP

New Delhi, (IANS) On a day the AAP blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the President rejecting a bill on Parliamentary Secretaries, the BJP on Tuesday said the appointment of 21 Parliamentary Secretaries in Delhi is “illegal” and urged the EC to take a decision on the matter at the earliest.

“The appointment of 21 Parliamentary Secretaries by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is illegal as there is no provision for it in the law,” BJP parliamentarian Meenakshi Lekhi said here.

“This is an open-and-shut case. The Election Commission must take a final call on the disqualification issue at the earliest,” she added.

“If this (post) does not come under the office of profit, then why did they have to bring in the bill? Because they knew what they did was illegal,” she said.

Lekhi, a Lok Sabha MP from New Delhi, accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of furnishing a “false” affidavit before the Election Commission on perks and facilities to be given to its Parliamentary Secretaries.

“The office of profit does not only mean procuring perks and free amenities, but it has a distinct definition even in the capacity of advisers. In the past, (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi and (then Samajwadi Party MP) Jaya Bachchcan lost their seats in Parliament for holding offices of profit,” Lekhi said.

She said when the amendment bill passed by the Delhi assembly for keeping Parliamentary Secretaries out of office-of-profit purview was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party even “tried to drag the President’s office into the controversy”.

“In Delhi, an earlier provision allowed only one post of parliamentary secretary attached to the chief minister. The position was kept out of the purview of the office of profit rules after a 2006 amendment bill, when the Congress was in power,” she said.

Lekhi also flayed Kejriwal for dragging the Prime Minister’s name into the presidential rejection of the bill, saying the people of Delhi have been cheated while electing the “new-age Tughlaq going by the name of Arvind Kejriwal”.

“The Delhi government is the epicentre of nepotism and high-quality corruption. The Kejriwal government is suppressing the Rs 400 crore tanker scam. Why has there been no action against those involved in the scam despite a report by the inquiry committee formed by Water Minister Kapil Mishra,” the BJP leader from Delhi said.

“People in Delhi are facing many problems related to water and electricity. I don’t know about you, but I am yet to get free Wi-Fi. But the AAP leaders are chanting Modi-Modi to hide their own failures,” she said.

Lekhi said the BJP wants a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the corrupt practices of the Kejriwal government.

Kejriwal appointed 21 AAP legislators as Parliamentary Secretaries in March last year.

Thereafter, the state government retrospectively sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.

The President, however, rejected the amendment bill. That leaves the political fate of the 21 Delhi legislators hanging in balance.

Medaram Jathara

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