Image credit: http://www.rediff.com
The Election Commission has finally recommended disqualification of the 20 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party. BJP and Congress have demanded that Kejriwal should resign. Ajay Maken tweeted the same claiming Kejriwal has no right to continue. He forgot that he didn’t ask for resignation of his party’s Meghalaya Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma when High Court quashed the appointment of 18 Parliamentary Secretaries appointed by him. Their fate is hanging as Court has requested the Governor to disqualify. Case of short memory or double standards?
After receiving a deadly blow in Delhi in 2013 as well as in 2015 from AAP, BJP is sore about the double loss and has been trying to destabilize the AAP government as alleged by Kejriwal.
It all started with constant meddling by LG in the affairs of the Delhi government. Voters of Delhi were suddenly made to realize that an unelected LG is their boss, confirmed by Delhi High Court. Kejriwal as CM has no authority. Party is battling it out in the Supreme Court and a five judge Constitution bench is hearing the matter. Ugly scenes between Najeeb Jung and AAP were the order of the day in Delhi. LG and AAP govt. were at loggerheads on the doorstep delivery of services act very recently.
I-T department has slapped Rs. 30 crore tax notice on AAP over undisclosed income. ED has issued notices for receiving foreign funding. This news has been sensationalized all over media. People clearly forget that national parties BJP and Congress have been held guilty of receiving foreign funding by Delhi High Court way back in 2014. The court has instructed EC to take action on this matter, but EC has been sitting over it for past 3 years.
LG reprimanded AAP and asked party to pay up Rs. 97 crore of public money, Kejriwal government spent on advertisements in Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Is there any other example where Governor of a state has asked state government to cough up money spent on ads in other states? You have to just scan the newspapers and you will find that other states have been constantly putting ads in newspapers outside their states.
In Dec. 2015, Arun Jaitley filed a civil defamation case against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders claiming they made “false and defamatory” statements in a case involving the DDCA. Political accusations have now been taken to courts to thwart AAP’s voice. Many opposition leaders would have been jailed by now considering the loose remarks they makes on a daily basis.
The ruling party after failing in all the above efforts, tried to split the party through Kapil Mishra and Kumar Vishwas. Nobody cares about Mishra’s allegations and people have realized he is a stooge. Kejrwal and company managed to placate Vishwas then.
Now, the disqualification of 20 MLAs for holding ‘office of profit’. As per The Wire’s report of June 2016, BJP MLA Vijay Jolly filed a petition with President in 2016 seeking disqualification of 18 Congress MLAs for holding ‘offices of profit’. The matter moved to EC ad notices were issued to these MLAs. Meanwhile, Delhi assembly passed the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill, 2006 with retrospective effect from September 1997 exempting 14 posts from the purview of “office of profit” and President readily accorded assent to the Bill.
Kejriwal extended the list to include other parliamentary secretaries by passing similar bill, but this time it was surprisingly withheld by the President. Parties across states make such appointments as pointed out by the report, but no hue and cry there. Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje appointed eight parliamentary secretaries during 2002-2008. In her latest term, she has appointed five MLAs to the same office. Similar favours were extended to many legislators in Punjab, Goa, Haryana, and Gujarat in the past. This is a clear case of discrimination.
The voter of AAP in Delhi does see all this. Attempts are being made to not let function the government elected by the public. Despite all this, AAP has spread its wings and is today the main opposition in Punjab. Denial of Rajya Sabha ticket to Kumar Vishwas provides again an opportunity to opposition to create a wedge within the party. Any attempt to create an Arunachal or Uttarakhand type situation and then form government through back door will boomerang and only make AAP stronger. It will damage BJP’s prospects in Lok Sabha where it swept all 7 seats in 2014.
I am amazed by the public response to this incident. A section of public is clearly using different yardsticks for evaluating different parties. If national parties indulge in corruption, do anything wrong, its fine, but if AAP does it, they get very angry. Why? Because it claimed to be a party with a difference. As an AAP supporter said yesterday, ‘Hum (AAP) karein to Raasleela, Aap (National parties) karein to Ramleela’.
(This article first appeared in TheQuint).