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 Aam Admi PartyIANS

The Election Commission has disqualified 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators for allegedly holding offices of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries, reported Times Now.

The Election Commissioner has sent the recommendation to President Ram Nath Kovind.

The disqualification means that AAP will suffer a setback in the upcoming by-elections in Delhi. The Arvind Kejriwal party's strength in the Delhi Assembly will be reduced to 47. 

AAP has called for a press meet at 3 pm on Friday.

In case, Kovind accepts the recommendation, a small Assembly election may also be conducted in Delhi, where 20 vacant seats will be up for grabs.

The issue to disqualify the 21 AAP MLA's had cropped up when Kejriwal's government on March 13, 2015 passed an order to appoint the MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries. Three months later Advocate Prashant Patel filed a petition that the MLAs were holding house of profit and should be disqualified.

After Patel, the Congress on June 9, 2016, also moved the poll panel and sought the removal of the 21 MLAs.

The case against one of the accused MLA's named Jarnail Singh was dropped, after he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA. He resigned in order to contest the Punjab Assembly elections.

In June 2017, the EC not only rejected the MLAs' pleas to drop the "office of profit" case against them but soon issued a notice to the AAP lawmakers for an explanation.

A section of the Twitterati has comdemmed the Kejriwal government and the 20 MLAs.