New Delhi, April 20: Calling the Election Commission “biased”, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the poll panel was conspiring with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to destabilize the AAP government in Delhi.
Interacting with the media here, AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj referred to remarks by EC’s former legal advisor, S.K. Mendiratta, that his opinion was not taken before the Election Commission disqualified 20 AAP MLAs for holding “office of profit”.
“Now it’s established that the EC is biased,” he said. “If advice was not taken from him (Mendiratta), it means that advice was coming from the Prime Minister’s office.”
Bharadwaj claimed the former Election Commission chief during whose tenure the decision to disqualify the AAP MLAs was taken was an IAS officer who had good relations with Modi when the latter was the Gujarat Chief Minister.
“Country’s EC with Prime Minister is conspiring to destabilize the elected government in Delhi,” the AAP leader stated, adding this was a “very dangerous sign”.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Wednesday at Idea Exchange, Mendiratta, who left EC last month, said, “I was (working) on contract with them (EC). I have given them my opinion whenever it was sought. In this case (office-of-profit complaint against AAP), they did not feel the necessity of seeking my opinion. So I (have) just kept away”.
Apart from this, Poll panel’s veteran legal troubleshooter confirmed he was associated with the AAP case until EC’s June 23, 2017 order, which had promised further hearing on the matter. That time Nasim Zaidi was the CEC.
However, the EC did not conduct any oral hearings after that and, straightaway tendered its opinion to the President on January 19, 2018.
On being asked that if he was consulted by the Commission for the June 23 order, Mendiratta said, “I was (consulted) in this matter till the last order, where it was decided that they have held an office. Thereafter, I have not been associated with that case”.