Eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s ouster lead to serious loss of credibility for AAP. But an unheralded lawyer also named Prashant has dealt a much severe blow to AAP run Delhi government on Friday.
The AAP when it started was the culmination of India Against Corruption, a movement that shook the Indian political establishment. AAP was supposed be the party that changed Indian politics, one with a difference, now 5 years later, it lays in tatters, battered from all sides as its utopian idealism was replaced by the hard realities of life.
It has suffered several setbacks since the party halted the Modi juggernaut in Delhi in 2015, winning astounding 67 out of 70 seats. Things however have been up and down since then with the party fragmenting, with stalwarts like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan leaving, and Kumar Vishwas at loggerheads.
There were electoral setbacks in Punjab and Goa, but perhaps the Office of Profits case is one of its biggest setbacks since the party was launched.
On Friday, the EC recommended the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding an ‘Office of Profit’, which could lead to their disqualification. While the loss of 20 MLAS, thanks to AAP’s brute majority in Delhi, wouldn’t cause the state government to fall, it will certainly send ripples of shock through the party’s ranks.
A member of the Hindu Legal Cell, Prashant has taken on Aamir khan, Raju Hirani and Kanhaiya Kumar in the past. He filed an FIR against Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani for their film PK, filed a intervention in the Supreme Court when Kanhaiya Kumar sought bail and also filed a complaint against former CBFC chief Leela Samson.
Patel had earlier said: “I am very happy that my struggle has paid off. When the appointments were made in March, I felt that something was not right. I read up on the issue and also checked its constitutional validity. After much research, I found the move was unconstitutional and filed a petition with the Presidents’ secretariat.”
In the initial days, he said that his efforts didn’t lead to fruit and although he filed multiple RTIs, letters to the President’s Secretariat. he didn’t expect things to become this big.
Talking to ANI, the petitioner Prashant Patel said the AAP government flouted the rule, which says 15 percent of the total strength in the assemblies in big states and 10 percent in small states can be made ministers.
‘When AAP formed government in Delhi on February 14, 2015, then 21 AAP MLAs were made parliamentary secretary on March 13, 2015, with the powers of deputy ministers. In this way, AAP government made 28 ministers instead of seven. Therefore, these appointments came under office of profit. I made a complaint with the President on June 19, 2015, against these appointments. The President forwarded my complaint to the Election Commission, which further issued notices to the 21 MLAs,” Patel said.
He further added that after the MLAs filed their reply with the election body, the oral hearings in this case were completed on March 27, 2017.
“Oral hearings started from July 14, 2016, till March 27, 2017. On June 23, 2017, the ECI said that the said MLAs held position of parliamentary secretary for 17 months. Delhi’s Chief Secretary told the ECI that the government spent Rs 11 lakh for allotting rooms in Delhi Assembly. The MLAs are not entitled to get rooms at the Assembly premises,” Patel added.
Praise for Patel on Twitter:
Prashant Patel single handedly defeated Arvind Kejriwal along with 21 MLAs.
Congrats elder brother @ippatel
— Mrigank Misra (@mrigankms007) January 19, 2018
Today it was @ippatel day taken 20 wickets in a day #AAPMLAsDisqualified Tomorrow it would be @Ish_Bhandari pitching for #NationalHerald case more corrupted politicians wickets would be taken out @Swamy39
— ViJay Kumar 🇮🇳 (@vi_jaykumar) January 19, 2018
My deepest regards to you for fighting this lone battle against the mighty and rich aam aadmi party. Though we’ve never spoken, I’m fully aware that you’d no support from the ruling govt on ground when you went after these 20 AAP MLAs. This is ur & just ur victory. https://t.co/KFZEuXGjYi
— Sonam Mahajan (@AsYouNotWish) January 19, 2018
— Nupur Sharma (@NupurSharmaBJP) January 19, 2018
Is Arvind Kejriwal an “Anti-Corruption Crusader” ?😈🤔
It’s Prashant P Umrao – The real crusader,who singlehandedly got Mr Kejriwal’s 20 MLAs disqualified😉
Congratulations brave man💐@ippatel हवा निकाल दी आपने झूठ के ग़ुब्बारे 🎈की ! keep it up 💪👍
— Maj Surendra Poonia (@MajorPoonia) January 19, 2018