New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday demanded the Centre to remove BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra as ITDC chairman and Iqbal Singh Lalpura as minority commission chief for allegedly violating Central Civil Services (Conduct) rules and misusing the post for party work.
In a letter to Union Tourism minister G Kishan Reddy, senior AAP leader Atishi alleged that despite being the chairman of the India Tourism Development Corporation, Patra continued to campaign for the BJP which is a “blatant violation of CCS (Conduct) Rules”.
AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj also wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and demanded immediate removal of the National Commission for Minority (NCM) chairperson Lalpura from the post, alleging that he is heading the statutory body in “gross violation” of the CCS (Conduct) Rules as he continues to be an active member of the BJP and its parliamentary board.
No immediate reaction could be had from Patra and Lalpura on the AAP’s demand for their removal.
The AAP leaders’ letters come days after the Delhi government’s planning department issued a show cause notice to Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi Vice-Chairperson Jasmine Shah over charges of “misusing public office” by acting as the “official spokesperson” of the AAP.
The notice had been issued following a complaint by BJP leader and West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma.
The AAP had termed the notice a “yet another attack on the Delhi government due to its rising graph in Gujarat”.
“I have written a letter to the Union Tourism minister and the Central Vigilance Commission, demanding the removal of Sambit Patra from the ITDC’s chairman’s post.
“Despite remaining ITDC chairman and holding public office, Patra did not demit the post of BJP National Spokesperson,” the AAP MLA said during a media briefing.
“He uploaded several political videos on social media which were shot in his office which is a textbook example of misuse of public office,” she claimed.
On November 30 last year, Patra was appointed as the ITDC chairman, which comes under the Tourism ministry.
“The moment he gets appointed as ITDC chairman, he fulfils the legal conditions of being a ‘public servant.’ A ‘public servant’ is clearly defined in the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, Central Civil Services Conduct Rules,” she said.
She cited Section 1 of Rule 5 that says that “no government servant shall be a member of, or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organisation which takes part in politics nor shall he take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or activity.” “However, Sambit Patra, in complete ignorance of law, held press conferences, took part in TV debates and election campaigns for BJP.
“His Twitter timeline is also filled with several political videos and debates which he shot from his government office. It is a textbook example of misuse of public office,” she said.
Addressing a separate press conference, Bharadwaj raised questions on Lalpura’s appointment and continuation as the NCM chief, calling them “completely illegal”.
“The NCM is an autonomous body which receives all types of complaints. Because of this, its chairman should be a neutral person who is completely detached from party politics.
“However, Lalpura is the spokesperson of the BJP. He defends the good and the bad deeds of the party on TV debates,” the AAP leader charged.
Lalpura was appointed as the Chairman of the Commission in September 2021. He later resigned from the post to contest Punjab assembly elections earlier this year. After he lost the election, he was again appointed as the NCM chief in April this year, Bharadwaj said.
Despite CCS (Conduct) Rules barring a public servant from holding membership of any political body, Lalpura continues to be a member of the BJP parliamentary board and the party’s central election committee as well, he said.
“There cannot be a bigger example of making a mockery of a Constitutional post than this …. He never parted ways from politics.
“Yesterday, I wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Central Vigilance Commissioner Suresh Patel demanding strict action against Lalpura. I have also demanded that he be removed as the NCM chief with immediate effect for gross violation of the CCS (Conduct) Rules 1964,” Bhardwaj added.
(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)