Manipur: Rahul Gandhi seeks disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs in 2018 ‘office of profit’ case

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday demanded the disqualification of 12 BJP legislators from Manipur in the 2018 ‘office of profit’ case.

Gandhi said that the Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla had failed to take requisite action despite being instructed in this regard by the Election Commission of India.

Former Congress chief also asserted that it was entirely constitutional of Heptualla to protect BJP.

Sources said, earlier in the day, Gandhi interacted with a delegation of Manipur Congress MLAs to discuss the danger to democracy in the state.

The Manipur high court had declared two state Acts – Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2012 and theManipur Parliamentary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Repealing Act, 2018 –as unconstitutional on September 17, 2020. Later, Congress had approached Heptulla seeking disqualification of 12 MLAs appointed as parliamentary secretaries, for enjoying office of profit from 2017 onwards. In October, Heptulla sought the EC’s views in this regard.

Meanwhile, sources said the chances of these MLAs attracting disqualification appear slim as the aforesaid laws were in existence when they held the office of the parliamentary secretary.

However, The Election Commission of India spokesperson Sheyphali Sharan said in a tweet on Tuesday that the ECI never discusses a privileged communication. Sharan was responding to a news report about the disqualification of 12 Manipur BJP MLAs in a 2018 office of profit case.