The Congress in Madhya Pradesh alleged on Tuesday that eight of its MLAs have been forcefully kept at a hotel in Gurugram, Haryana, NDTV reported. Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot said that two ministers who went to meet the MLAs holed up at the ITC Maratha Hotel were not allowed entry.
“One of our MLAs and former minister Bisahulal Singh rang us and informed us that they have been forcefully kept at the ITC Maratha Hotel in Gurugram and not being allowed to go out,” Bhanot told NDTV. “Our two ministers, Jaivardhan Singh and Jeetu Patwari, who went to the concerned hotel in Gurugram to meet the eight MLAs after getting the phone call from one of the legislators, are not being allowed entry in the hotel.”
Bhanot alleged that the situation was the result of the fact that a Bharatiya Janata Party government was in power in Haryana. He claimed that former minister Narottam Mishra was also involved.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh alleged that former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Mishra have been trying to lure the legislators by offering them Rs 25 crore to Rs 35 crore each, in “installments”. “Didn’t BJP’s former minister Bhupendra Singh take BSP [Bahujan Samaj Party] MLA Rambai to Delhi in a chartered flight on Monday?’’ he tweeted. Singh had first made the allegations on Monday. However, the Congress leader also expressed faith in the BSP legislators.
Congress MLA Baijnath Kushwah has alleged that he was offered Rs 25 crore a month ago by a BJP leader in Bhind, as well as the position of a Cabinet minister in the Madhya Pradesh government. He said the leader had told him that he was delivering a “message” from Chouhan.
On Wednesday, the Congress called an urgent meeting of its MPs to discuss the political situation in Madhya Pradesh, apart from other matters, ANI reported. The meeting will be headed by Rahul Gandhi.
The state Assembly, which presently has a strength of 228, has 114 Congress MLAs, 107 BJP legislators, four independents, two BSP MLAs and one Samajwadi Party legislator. The BSP and Samajwadi Party have backed the Congress-led government.
Nath says Congress will remain in power
Kamal Nath said Singh’s claim of poaching was true, The Indian Express reported. However, he expressed confidence that his government would survive.
Nath alleged that the BJP was trying to poach its legislators because it is afraid that the “scams” perpetrated during Chouhan’s rule would be exposed if the Congress continued in power.
Cabinet minister BS Rathore endorsed Nath’s claim on Wednesday. “Those involved in buying MLAs using black money, are the ones who are afraid that their corrupt practices will be exposed by Congress government,” he told reporters. He said the Congress was even ready for a floor test and its government would last all five years.
Chouhan on Tuesday dismissed the claims made by Singh and Nath. “Maybe his work was not done and he is trying to put pressure on Kamal Nath,” Chouhan said of Singh. “No one knows what goes on his mind. He is always up to some trick.” The former chief minister accused Nath and Singh of taking useless potshots at each other.
BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition in Assembly Gopal Bhargav said Singh has insulted MLAs by accusing them of being involved in bribery. He said Madhya Pradesh does not have a culture of horse-trading and that Singh should name the MLAs he claims are being poached by the BJP.