Big blow to AAP: 20 MLAs disqualified over 'office-of-profit'

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Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday said that it would hold protest on January 23 and 29, against the ongoing sealing drive and changes in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail.

Commenting on the disqualification, Delhi government minister Gopal Rai said the party will challenge the decision in the high court. All eyes will be on the Delhi high court where a petition filed by some disqualified AAP MLAs will come up for hearing today.

Still, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress demanded that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resign on moral grounds. Petitioner Prashant Patel had opposed the appointment of AAP MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries, which, according to him, was office of profit.

The poll panel had held that MLAs were "de facto holders of the office of parliamentary secretaries".

Ajay Maken, Congress leader: AAP has been helped by BJP & EC by delaying the decision for over 3 weeks.

President Kovind gave his assent to the recommendation by the Election Commission (EC) on Saturday.

In June 2017, the EC rejected the MLAs pleas to drop the "office of profit" case against them and ruled that the disqualification proceedings against them will continue. On Friday, the court had refused to pass any interim order of protection to AAP MLAs from being disqualified.

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"The on Friday recommended to the President the disqualification of 20 of AAP MLAs+ for holding ".

The poll panel had said that it is basing its opinion on judicial pronouncements of the past, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act and the Constitution.

"With his speedy decision, the President has made a major contribution towards protecting democratic values", the BJP MP from northeast Delhi said.

The President is bound by the recommendation of the Commission.

The opposition BJP has four members in the Assembly. On March 12, 2013, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had administered oath of office to 18 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries to assist the 12 ministers after the Congress retained power in assembly elections.

The 20 MLAs set to be disqualified include, Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) - who is also a minister - Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura).

This disqualification will lead to by-polls in Delhi.

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