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BJP petitions President seeking Sonia's disqualification

By Super
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New Delhi, Mar 23: The BJP today filed another petition before President APJ Abdul Kalam urging him to disqualify UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi from the Lok Sabha for holding an Office of Profit.

A party delegation led by General Secretary Ananth Kumar and including party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mr Satpal Jain, convenor of legal cell of the party, submitted to the President that Mrs Gandhi enjoyed an office of profit by virtue of holding the Chairmanship of the National Advisory Council, a body funded and maintained by the Union Government.

The Government was likely to come out with an Ordinance declaring this post as not being an office of Profit and the President should consider this petition before according his consent to such an Ordinance. Even if it becomes a law, it could not grant retrospective benefit to Mrs Gandhi as she had been occupying the post since June 2004, the petition said.

The post is an office profit under the Constitution and established law and the President should sent the petition filed by Mr Anant Kumar as a BJP MP under rule 102 and 103 of the Constitution before the Election Commission for its view.

Replying to queries in this regard, Mr Jain and Mr Prasad said the NAC is responsible for implementing the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA Government and the post carried the status of a Cabinet Minister. Also, the Chairperson was allowed to recruit staff. Whereas a Cabinet Minister or Leaders of Opposition were not covered under office of profit, the NAC Chairperson -- a newly created post by the UPA government -- cannot be accorded the same status and hence what was applicable to other people holding similar offices should apply to Mrs Gandhi also, they said.

Asked if the petition had let off other MPs like Kapila Vatsyayan, Dr Karan Singh and Mr Subba Rami Reddy, who also hold posts entailing Cabinet status, Mr Ananth Kumar said this petition was only against Mrs Gandhi but did not rule out similar petitions against others also.

This is a formal petition filed by the BJP after the NDA leaders submitted a memorandum yesterday, soon after the Parliament was adjourned sine die, saying that the whole exercise was to shield Mrs Gandhi.

The Samajwadi Party and Telugu Desam, too, had met the President seeking Ms Gandhi's disqualification from the Lok Sabha.

UNI

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