The ruling party said its MLAs are being blackmailed and threatened with jail time based on false cases by central agencies if they do not jump ship and join the BJP. The opposition party hit back calling the allegations “baseless, fabricated and levelled out of frustration”.
AAP national convener and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had first raked up ‘Operation Lotus’ in August last year when he charged with BJP with spending around ₹5,500 crore to poach over 200 legislators across the country in its bid to oust non-BJP governments. He had, however, said the BJP’s attempt came a cropper in Delhi. Similar allegations were made by the AAP government in Punjab as well.
On Saturday, a day after the BJP could not move a no-confidence motion in the Assembly on the inaugural day of the budget session, AAP MP Raghav Chadha said several party legislators had received phone calls. “MLAs are being made offers by the BJP high command under the pretext of no-confidence motion,” he said.
Mr. Chadha quoted numbers to attack BJP for making a “mockery” of the democratic process. “For any party to form the government in Delhi, it needs a minimum of 36 seats – one seat more than the halfway mark. AAP has 62 MLAs in the Assembly and the BJP just eight, yet it is so arrogant that it is attempting to bring a no-confidence motion against the ruling party,” he said.
In response, Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri called the allegations an attempt to divert attention from the ongoing investigation against senior AAP leaders and former Ministers Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain. “Every time Arvind Kejriwal scams are uncovered, rather than giving answers on the scams the AAP leaders start crying that their government is facing threat, their MLAs are being poached,” he said.
Focusing his attack on Mr. Kejriwal, Mr. Bidhuri said the CM “made the Ministers do all the corruption and grabbed all the money, and later sacrificed them”. The LoP said even after having 62 out of 70 MLAs, Mr. Kejriwal is not confident about his flock. “The probe into corruption cases will reach Kejriwal soon and he will also go to jail,” he said. AAP also reiterated its support for Mr. Sisodia on Saturday, denouncing the CBI’s FIR in the ‘feedback unit’ case against him as a “figment of imagination devoid of any factual basis”.