NEW DELHI: The impending disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for violation of holding offices of profit has become the ground for the infighting within the party to surface ye again. AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, who stands sidelined within the party, used the opportunity to take a shot at CM Arvind Kejriwal.
"It is very unfortunate and sad, the action against 20 AAP MLAs," Vishwas told news agency ANI. "I had given certain suggestions earlier, but I was told it is the CM's prerogative to appoint people. So, I kept quiet," he added.
Vishwas is in a strained relationship with the AAP leadership at the moment. He had told the media that he was being targeted, after the party refused to back his nomination to the Rajya Sabha.
The impending disqualifications will not affect the stability of the AAP government in Delhi. The party has 66 MLAs at present, and would have 46 members if the disqualifications come through. This is comfortably over the 35-seat halfway mark.
However, the byelections to the 20 seats would offer an opportunity to the Congress and the BJP. The BJP could look to expand its footprint. And, the Congress can look to enter the present Delhi Assembly, where it doesn't have a single member at the moment.
The response to the office of profit accusation has left the AAP in a bind. When the case had been filed in the Delhi High Court against the appointment of MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, the AAP had tried to use its brute majority to amend provisions to make the appointments legal. The amendment was not approved by the President.
But both the appointments and the amendment had been made without the consent of the Lieutenant-Governor, who in a different case had been confirmed by the courts as the true holder of executive authority in the city-state.
Despite its earlier scramble to legitimise the then-incorrect appointments, the AAP accused the Election Commission of being a "letterbox of the PMO".