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After President refuses nod to bill, Kejri says BJP scared of AAP

With the President holding assent to a bill that protects 21 AAP MLAs, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of indulging in political vendetta and said the BJP is ‘scared’ of AAP and unable to digest its defeat in Delhi.

After President refuses nod to bill, Kejri says BJP scared of AAP
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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi

In a jolt to the AAP government, President Pranab Mukherjee has refused to give assent to a legislation that protects 21 party MLAs, who have been appointed Parliamentary Secretaries, and face the prospect of disqualification. 

“We have given additional responsibilities to our MLAs but they are working for free. Our notification says that they are not entitled to any remuneration, perks, facilities or services from the government,” Kejriwal told reporters. 

“If they are working for free, what is troubling Modi? If all people are disqualified and made to sit at home, what will they (Centre) derive from this. Modi hasn’t been able to digest defeat in Delhi and that is why they are doing all this to not let us work,” he added.

“There are Parliamentary Secretaries in Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, West Bengal and across the country. Those in Punjab get Rs 1 lakh per month, car and bungalow as well. But they have not been disqualified. Why only Delhi? Because he (Modi) is scared of Aam Aadmi Party,” he said. 

Asked about the Prime Minister’s role in the process as the bill has been turned down by the President and not him, Kejriwal said, “President does not take any decision. Probably the file doesn’t even go to him. The decision is taken by the government and Home Ministry decided this.” 

Petitions have been filed with the President seeking disqualification of these MLAs on the ground that they occupied office of profit violating constitutional provisions.

Acting as a quasi-judicial body, the Election Commission to whom the President referred the issue, had sought replies of the MLAs. 

The Delhi government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997. 

Through the Bill, the AAP government wanted ‘retrospective’ exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions. After examining the issue, the President has not given his assent to the Bill, official sources said on Tuesday. 

Don’t question credibility of President’s office: BJP 

BJP on Tuesday hit out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for questioning the credibility of the President’s office over refusal of assent to a bill on appointment of parliamentary secretaries, and accused him of being ‘obsessed’ about attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for no rhyme or reason. 

“Office of the President of India and the Election Commission are independent institutions with great credibility. You (Kejriwal) have certain political ambitions, rightly so under a democratic system, but for god’s sake don’t demean the credibility of the President of India because in the end you are demeaning the democracy of this country,” Patra told reporters at the party headquarters.

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