Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of deliberately delaying the Rajya Sabha elections by two months, so that they could complete their “buying and selling” in the state as well as in Gujarat, NDTV reported on Thursday.
This came hours after the Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan sequestered its legislators to a resort in Jaipur to swamp the BJP’s efforts of alleged poaching ahead of the elections to the three seats of the Rajya Sabha on June 19.
The chief minister alleged that some of the party MLAs were offered Rs 25 crore in cash with an advance of Rs 10 crore to switch sides. He called this a “plan similar to the one in Madhya Pradesh”. In March, the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh collapsed after 22 MLAs considered close to Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned. They later joined the BJP.
“How long will you do politics by indulging in horse-trading?” Gehlot asked at the meeting with the legislators in the Shiv Vilas resort. “It will not be surprising if Congress gives them a jolt in the time to come. The public can understand everything.”
Gehlot claimed that the Congress was “alert and united”, adding that the fate of anyone who left the party for the BJP was “not good”. He called the meeting with the MLAs fruitful and said they will meet again on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala attended a meeting of Congress MLAs and independent legislators in Jaipur, where he said that the “repeated assassination” of the public mandate has become BJP’s character. But BJP’s conspiracy in Rajasthan will not succeed as no one can defeat the public mandate or democracy, he added. “The Congress MLAs are fearless [and] therefore, they are not going to fall for any temptation.”
The party has 107 MLAs in the 200-member state Assembly. Congress also has the support of 12 of the 13 independent MLAs in the state.
The Congress also filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Bureau, flagging the BJP’s attempts to “destabilise the government”. The party claimed that MLAs and independent lawmakers who support the Congress government were being offered inducements. The concerns were conveyed in a letter by Congress leader Mahesh Joshi, who is also the party’s chief whip in the Rajasthan Assembly.
Meanwhile, BJP state president Satish Poonia said the Congress in Rajasthan is “feeling insecure”. “Their own house is not in order,” he told PTI. “They do not trust their MLAs.