Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has sacked as many as 20 lawmakers of the country's anti-graft Aam Aadmi Party for holding office of profit.
The president's action came on Sunday, two days after the Election Commission recommended the disqualification of the lawmakers from the Delhi Assembly over holding of offices of profit as parliamentary secretaries.
However, it will not pose any immediate threat to the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi as the party has 66 seats in the 70-member house. But bypolls will have to be held in all the seats within six months of their disqualification.
While the Aam Aadmi Party has slammed the decision to disqualify its legislators, India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the main opposition Congress party have both hailed the move.
"They slapped fake cases on our legislators, got the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct raids on me, but they found nothing. In the end, they disqualified 20 of our legislators," Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
However, Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said "Kejriwal has lost the moral right to rule and he should step down after the disqualification of 20 MLAs of his party."
A BJP leader added "We welcome the decision taken by the president to disqualify the 20 legislators."
Parliamentary secretaries are usually appointed by a government to provide assistance to ministers, and the office comes with perks apart from some political power. Often lawmakers who fail to become ministers in a government are accommodated as parliamentary secretaries.