The Congress on Thursday said it would raise in Parliament the matter of the Bharatiya Janata Party allegedly trying to destabilise its government in Madhya Pradesh. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the BJP had “abducted” 14 of the Congress MLAs in the state, PTI reported.
Surjewala attributed the BJP’s alleged attempts to the work done by the Congress government in reining in mafias and the “unravelling” of the Vyapam scam. “So, this is a conspiracy to bring the Madhya Pradesh government down,” he said. “Who paid for the charter plane to abduct the MLAs? Who paid for the five star hotels?”
Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said that ever since the BJP formed a government at the Centre, “democracy was being finished” in every state. “BJP’s policy is to destabilise states where other parties have formed government,” Azad said. “Efforts to break the government in Madhya Pradesh is not new. We condemn it, [and] will raise it in Parliament.”
“This fever to destabilise state governments rises when Rajya Sabha elections are due,” Azad added.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh accused BJP leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Narottam Mishra, Sanjay Pathak, Vishwas Sarang and Bhupendra Singh for the “horse-trading”. “Modi-Shahji, why are you looking for [black] money in other countries, it’s in your party!” he tweeted.
Responding to the allegations, BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal claimed that Digvijaya Singh was lying. “The entire episode has exposed the internal tussle of Congress,” he said. “None of the MLAs, allegedly involved in entire episode, have made allegations against the BJP. The BSP and SP MLAs as well as those belonging to the Congress, who returned from Delhi, have denied the charges of horse-trading.”
Agrawal blamed the Congress instead and said the party had hatched this conspiracy but was now exposed. “BJP has nothing to do as proved by the statements of the MLAs,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticised the “sinister design” of the saffron party to break state governments. “By doing this heinous activity, they want to destabilise the Congress regime,” he added. “They are putting pressure on Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh by adopting the carrot and stick policy.”
The second part of the Budget Session of Parliament has been underway since Monday.
On Tuesday, the Congress had alleged that 10 MLAs who support its government in Madhya Pradesh had been taken by the BJP to the Gurugram hotel. Late that night, the party claimed to have “rescued” six of them – four of the Congress and one each of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. However, four MLAs remained missing and were allegedly taken to Bengaluru. This included three Congress MLAs – Hardeep Singh Dang, Raghuraj Kansana and Bisahu Lal Singh – and Independent MLA Shera Bhaiya.
In the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the Congress has 114 MLAs and the BJP has 107. Out of the rest of the seats, the BSP has two, the Samajwadi Party has one. Four are Independent MLAs, while two seats are currently vacant.
Digvijaya Singh had alleged on Tuesday that BJP leader and former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and former minister Narottam Mishra had been trying to lure the legislators by offering them Rs 25 crore to Rs 35 crore each, in “instalments”. Congress leader Jitu Patwari claimed that BJP had offered Rs 50 crore to Rs 60 crore to his party’s MLAs, and added that they found the lawmakers had been assaulted.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath said his party has a complete majority in the Assembly and accused the BJP of orchestrating the alleged hostage situation.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, claimed this was an “internal” Congress matter.
One of the Independent MLAs, Pradeep Jaiswal, on Wednesday said he would support the Congress government as long as it was in power, but all his options would be open in case it failed, PTI reported.