Mamata backs Kejriwal, says EC recommendation against 'natural justice'

AAP MLAs outside the Delhi High Court on Friday. The court refused to grant interim relief

The AAP has 66 MLA's in the 70 member assembly; therefore disqualification of these 20 MLA's will not threaten the AAP government.

Election Commission on Friday recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs on charges of holding an "office of profit". The Commission's recommendation to disqualify 20 of the AAP MLAs as it found them guilty of holding offices of profit was made on Friday, just days before Joti demits office as CEC. "There is no justification for this delay".

In a press meet on Saturday, party leader Gopal Rai said that Mr Joti was Principal Secretary in Gujarat when PM Modi was the state's Chief Minister and he was PM Modi's closest officer.

AAP legislators, who had moved the Delhi High Court earlier today, did not get interim relief.

According to the submission of the Chief Secretary to the ECI in September 2016, all 21 parliamentary secretaries wrote to the General Administration Department (GAD) on April 8, 2016 to ask for "information/details regarding salary/remuneration, expenses, official vehicle etc".

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The commission held in June past year that the MLAs had "de facto" held the offices of profit and continued to hear the case.

Speaking to reporters, Delhi's deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, expressed his shock on the EC's recommendations calling it unconstitutional. "You are mortgaging a constitutional post like the EC", he alleged. "Had the recommendation come before the Rajya Sabha election, the AAP would have split due to the internal rift", Maken claimed.

The disqualification will not put into jeopardy Kejriwal's government because of its huge majority in the Delhi assembly.

The Congress has demanded that the same set of rules be applied by the ECI in BJP ruled Chhattisgarh too and the 11 MLAs be disqualified. "Shouldn't Mr Arvind Kejriwal resign?" "Now, 20 MLAs who were enjoying ministerial perks would be disqualified", Mr Maken said.

Seven MLAs of AAP have mentioned before a Delhi High Court bench for urgent hearing of their petition. During the brief hearing, Justice Rekha Palli questioned the conduct of the MLAs, and said they had not appeared before the poll panel and took shield behind the fact that their pleas were pending in the high court.

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