Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slammed the Central government over 'office of profit' row on Wednesday and requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to let the people of Delhi suffer.
Addressing the press, he said, "In 1952 there were three parliamentary secretaries. When BJP used to have parliamentary secretaries, then it was legal but when we do it, it's illegal."
Targeting Congress' Ajay Maken, Kejriwal said, "In 1997, BJP CM in Delhi also appointed parliamentary secretary. Congress also did during Sheila ji's time. Then it was right?"
Maken had said yesterday that his party had sought the disqualification of 21 Aam Aadmi Party legislators who were appointed parliamentary secretaries by the Delhi CM. He had also said that they were prepared for bypolls.
The Delhi CM asserted that a lot of good work was being done by the parliamentary secretaries.
"They are the eyes, ears and hands of the Delhi government.They are not getting any remuneration. We are running the government with their help and today Delhi is the best performing state in the country. Our parliamentary secretaries are talented and educated. They are working hard to ensure that people get good services. They are the force behind mohalla clinics and have ensured classrooms in Delhi schools," Kejriwal pointed out.
"I want to request Modi ji - your fight with me, so beat me, take revenge from me but don't let the people of Delhi suffer," he said.
The office of parliamentary secretary is not exempt from office of profit.
Faced with the prospect of fresh polls if the MLAs holding posts of parliamentary secretaries are disqualified, Kejriwal had said yesterday that President Pranab Mukherjee's decision was based on Centre's recommendation and had wondered why nobody was talking about legislators occupying similar posts in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab.
President had refused to give his assent to a bill passed by the Delhi Assembly last year seeking amendment in the existing law to insulate the 21 legislators from the purview of the office of profit law with retrospective effect.
The legislators were appointed parliamentary secretaries last year.
The Election Commission is currently examining petitions seeking disqualification of the legislators. The commission had sought replies from the MLAs in question.
Fresh elections will have to be held if the 21 MLAs are disqualified on the ground of holding office of profit.
(With Agency inputs)