New Delhi: A day after a Delhi government bill that sought to exclude the post of Parliamentary Secretaries from the office of profit didn't get presidential nod, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi even as the Congress and BJP sought the disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs.
"Our Parliamentary Secretaries don't get a penny, still everyone is after them and Modiji wants to disqualify them. If he wants to disqualify, then all the Parliamentary Secretaries in the country should be disqualified," Kejriwal told the media.
The Aam Aadmi Party leader said the reason behind the central government's move was that Modi was scared of the AAP.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress tried to corner the AAP, which trounced both the parties in February 2015 by winning 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly.
"This is an open and shut case. The Election Commission must take a final call on the disqualification issue at the earliest," BJP leader and MP Meenakshi Lekhi said.
Congress leader Ajay Maken said, ''We have already demanded the disqualification of the 21 MLAs who were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries bypasing the procedures."
The BJP accused Kejriwal of "demeaning the President's office". Lekhi said: "It is high time the CM also learns the administrative skills of the Prime Minister. They (AAP) have been caught on the wrong foot."
President Mukherjee on Monday declined to sign the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, forwarded to him by the office of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and the central government.
Others in AAP too were defiant. Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said other states like Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh ruled by the BJP too had Parliamentary Secretaries but the Modi government was opposed to the idea only in Delhi.
The Congress tweeted: "Mr Kejriwal, you used to talk a lot about propriety. After you assumed power, where has all these gone?" Lekhi dismissed the AAP's contention that the Delhi legislators were not drawing any penny or enjoying any perks.
The President's decision raised questions over the fate of 21 AAP legislators. Through the amendment bill, the AAP government wanted "retrospective" exemption for the Parliamentary Secretaries from disqualification provision.
The matter was referred by the President's office to the central government, Law Ministry and the Election Commission, official sources said.
AAP sources said there had been no show cause notice or any other communication to the 21 legislators from the Election Commission. "We will act and react whenever we get any communication from the Election Commission," an AAP leader said.
On March 13, 2015, the Delhi government had passed an order appointing the 21 party MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries.
Here is the list of 21 AAP MLAs who are under scanner :-
Alka Lamba, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Adarsh Shastri, Madan Lal, Shiv Charan Goel, Sanjeev Jha, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar), Rajesh Gupta, Anil Kumar Bajpai, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Vijender Garg, Jarnail Singh (Rajouri Garden), Kailash Gahlot, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi, Rajesh Rishi and Sukhbir Singh Dalal.
With Agency inputs