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Swaraj Abhiyan to launch agitation against ‘mahajokepal’

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New Delhi: Calling upon the people to raise their voice against the “toothless” Delhi Lokpal Bill 2015 introduced by the AAP government, the Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj Abhiyan has decided to launch an agitation if the Bill is passed in its current form.

Yadav called upon one and all to join him and Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday at Vidhan Sabha Metro Station Gate 3 in New Delhi at 5.00 pm for a candle march protest, urging them to raise their voice for the Bill they fought for at the Ramlila Maidan.

ALSO READ: Five reasons why AAP Lokpal is Mahajokepal

Having termed ruling AAP’s 2015 ombudsman bill “mahajokepal”, the Swaraj Abhiyan has challenged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to a public debate on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

“Swaraj Abhiyan challenges the Delhi chief minister for an open debate with Prashant Bhushan on their Jan Lokpal Bill,” Swaraj Abhiyan, founded by former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, said in a statement on Sunday.

“We hope that Arvind Kejriwal stops misguiding the common people through lies and false propaganda and accepts the challenge for a healthy debate in the interest of transparency and common people of Delhi,” it added.

Earlier on Sunday, Bhushan, the ousted AAP leader, told reporters, “We were shocked to find that the present Bill is against every principle on the basis of which the anti-corruption movement fought for the institution of Janlokpal. It proposes a Lokpal that is to be completely controlled by the government.”

Bhushan on Saturday had termed ruling AAP’s 2015 ombudsman Bill as “mahajokepal”.

The party is claiming the Bill is identical to the draft, prepared during the Anna Hazare movement, and the 2014 Bill that it had tried to introduce in the Delhi Assembly.

Bhushan released a comparative study of the several Lokpal Bills and Acts, including the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2014, Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, Centre’s Lokpal Act and Team Anna’s Janlokpal draft.

“If you (Kejriwal) have actually copied from Janlokpal Bill 2014 or Uttarakhand Bill, then what took you so long? Why did Arvind keep on tweeting that he is drafting the Bill?” Bhushan asked.

Bhushan, however, acknowledged that he should avoided using harsh words against the party’s spokesperson Raghav Chadha during a TV debate over the issue.

Reacting to the allegations by Bhushan, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh tweeted, “Modi has not appointed LOKPAL for last 18 months but Prashant, Yogendra, Shanti did not have time to criticise/protest till date. Why?”

“AAP brings LOKPAL PB,YY,SB decide to stage a protest? Why? Double standard? Do you need more proof of collaboration between them-BJP,” Ashutosh said in a series of tweets.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

A big blow to the Aam Aadmi Party after the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs

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Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia commons
Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia Commons
  • The EC recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs under the ‘office of profit’ pretext
  • AAP looks forward to approaching the Delhi High court
  • The controversy started after Prashant Patel had submitted an application to the President

The Election Commission has recommended the disqualification 20 AAP MLAs. The EC found them guilty of holding an ‘office of profit’. The recommendation has been sent to the President. If cleared, the disqualification would mean that AAP’s strength in Delhi Assembly will reduce from 67 to 47.

The 20 AAP legislators were accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist various ministers of the Delhi government. The EC’s opinion on this matter means that the AAP legislators are set to be disqualified, which could soon force a mini Assembly election in the national capital.

The party now looks forward to approach the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation be struck down. Wikimedia Commons
The party now looks forward to approaching the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation is struck down. Wikimedia Commons

“This is unprecedented. The MLAs in question didn’t get a chance to present their case before the EC. In fact, we didn’t hear the news from the EC, but news channels,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said.

ALSO READ: Anna Hazare comes out in open support about Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)

Opposition parties have demanded the immediate resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister of Delhi on moral ground.

The ‘office of profit’ controversy had started after a lawyer, Prashant Patel, had filed an application in 2015 to the President’s office. It questioned the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

The Congress had filed a petition in Election Commission in 2016 as a follow-up, based on this application. The opposition party sought disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs.

Kejriwal had appointed MLAs in March 2015 and his government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, in June 2015. Wikimedia Commons

AAP had argued that this post did not qualify as an office of profit as there is no monetary benefit attached to it. But then President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, declaring them illegal since the order had been passed “without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor”.

ALSO READ: Discontentment in the Aam Aadmi Party is resulting in Resignation and withdrawals from the party

In the first reaction to the EC recommendation, AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted:

Here’s the list of 20 MLAs who have been recommended to be disqualified: 

1. Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli)
2. Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar)
3. Praveen Kumar (Jangpura)
4. Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar)
5. Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka)
6. Sanjeev Jha (Burari)
7. Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar)
8. Sukhvir Singh (Mundka)
9. Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar)
10. Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar)
11. Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk)
12. Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri)
13. Anil Kumar Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar)
14. Manoj Kumar (Kondli)
15. Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh)
16. Avtar Singh (Kalkaji)
17. Vijendar Garg Vijay (Rajinder Nagar)
18. Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur)
19. Sharad Kumar (Narela)
20. Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar)