Kejriwal hits out at Modi, Congress over secretary issue

NEW DELHI,AMRITA NAYAK DUTTA : The Aam Aadmi Party government on Wednesday hit back at the BJP and Congress over their demand to disqualify the 21 AAP legislators appointed as parliamentary secretaries. Addressing the media, chief minister Arvind Kerjriwal appointment of MLAs to the post of parliamentary secretaries is ‘legal’ when they do it but ‘illegal’ when AAP does it.

“When BJP used to have parliamentary secretaries, then its ‘legal’ but when we do it, its illegal said Kejriwal.

Kejriwal said that even during the Congress rule, the then chief minister Sheila Dixit appointed present Congress state unit chief Ajay Maken as a parliamentary secretary.

However, the chief minister did not speak about his government’s decision to put forward the bill on the amendment to Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997 as an ordinary bill, while in all likelihood, it is a money bill.

According to constitutional experts, a money bill requires prior approval of the lieutenant governor before being presented at the Delhi assembly.

“The difference between the AAP and the Congress in this respect was the erstwhile Sheila Dixit government had passed the bill for appointment of parliamentary secretaries as a money bill with the approval of the LG, since there were monetary expenses on emoluments. But the AAP government, in order to surpass the LG, had not presented this bill as a money bill, because of which the President refused his assent,” an expert said.

However, Kejriwal in the case of former BJP leader Sahib Singh Verma, rightly pointed out that he appointed a legislator as his parliamentary secretary in 1997, without taking the money bill route, taking the opposition on his side.

“It is okay when the BJP does it. But when AAP does it, it becomes unconstitutional,” Kejriwal said, adding his predecessor Sheila Dixit had also appointed Ajay Maken as her parliamentary secretary when she was the chief minister. He went on to request Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi with ‘folded hands’ to target him instead of making the people of Delhi suffer.

“Want to request Modiji with folded hands that do whatever you want to me but don’t let the people of Delhi suffer,” said Kejriwal.

Kejriwal praised his team of parliamentary secretaries for their work towards the completion of 8,000 new classrooms and mohalla clinics.

The Aam Aadmi Party is currently embroiled in a controversy over the appointment of 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries after president Pranab Mukherjee rejected a draft bill proposing to exempt parliamentary secretary from “office of profit”.