India

"BJP Offering MLAs 15 Crore, Trying To Topple Government": Ashok Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has alleged the BJP is trying to buy his MLAs (File)

Jaipur:

The BJP is playing politics and trying to destabilise my government, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said Saturday morning, amid allegations the opposition party is poaching MLAs in an attempt to destabilise the Congress government in the state.

Mr Gehlot alleged the party was offering MLAs between Rs 10 and 15 crore to switch allegiances.

This morning Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi, who filed a complaint with the SOG (special operations group) and ACB (anti-corruption bureau) of Rajasthan Police, told news agency ANI the BJP was "terrified".

"BJP is terrified due to investigation. They are involved in horse-trading as seen in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. They tried in Rajasthan too but faced the dust. The investigation will unearth the truth," Mr Joshi said.

An MLA from Kushalgarh in south Rajasthan, who was been named as one of those approached by the BJP, has categorically denied the allegation.

Last week Mr Joshi and Deputy Chief Whip Mahendra Chaudhary issued a statement on behalf of 24 MLAs that said: "Congress MLAs and legislators who are in support of the government will not let this be successful".

The 24 MLAs signed that statement. They also alleged that similar attempts at luring them, and other MLAs supporting the government, had been made during Rajya Sabha polls last month.

"The MLAs have said that no one can shake their integrity by giving any temptation. The Congress government in Rajasthan will complete its five-year term," the statement said.

The MLAs alleged that the BJP was prepared to repeat its conspiracy to weaken and topple a democratically-elected government.

There was no immediate reaction from the BJP.

The Congress holds 107 seats in the 200-strong Rajasthan Assembly and has support from 12 independent candidates. In addition, five MLAS from other parties - the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the CPI (M) and the Bharatiya Tribal Party - support Mr Gehlot.

Ahead of last month's Rajya Sabha elections Ashok Gehlot and Mahesh Joshi, accused the BJP of trying to destabilise the government.

A Congress unsettled by events in Madhya Pradesh in March, and faced with similar events in Gujarat, moved all its MLAs to a resort on the Delhi-Jaipur border.

Mr Joshi wrote to the ACB and said, without naming the BJP, that "our MLAs and independents supporting us - attempts are being made to lure them with money power".

Two days earlier Mr Gehlot told he had heard "reports that the BJP is willing to spend up to 25 to 30 crore per MLA".

With input from PTI, ANI