Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) of trying to topple the Congress government in the state by attempting to buy over MLAs and offering Rs 10 crore to Rs 15 crore to them, even as the state government is busy in handling the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We must focus on fighting Coronavirus and that is what we are doing but they (BJP) are trying to de-stabilise the government,” said CM Gehlot at a press conference. He added, “It wasn’t so during Vajpayee ji’s(Atal Bihari Vajpayee) time but after 2014 there is pride and division on basis of religion.”
Gehlot also talked about how BJP replaced the established Congress governments in Karnataka in 2019 and in Madhya Pradesh last month.
“We keep hearing talk of money being offered to MLAs to switch sides. Some have been promised up to Rs 15 crores and some have been assured of other favours. This is happening on a constant basis,” he said.
“Ever since the BJP’s victory in 2014, the party has shown its true face… They did this in Goa, Madhya Pradesh and the north-eastern states”.
“The shameless BJP bought seven MLAs in Gujarat” to win last month’s Rajya Sabha election.They tried to do the same thing in Rajasthan but we stopped them and gave them a lesson they will remember for a long time,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan police has issued notices to Chief Minister and deputy CM Sachin Pilot to record their statement in connection with the alleged attempts to topple their government, according to PTI sources.
The police”s special operations group (SOG) also sent a notice to Government Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi to record his statement, they said.
The SOG on Friday registered an FIR against two people for their alleged involvement in horse trading of Congress MLAs to destabilise the Ashok Gehlot government.
“Notices have been issued to chief minister, deputy chief minister and government chief whip for recording their statement in connection with the matter,” official source was quoted by PTI as saying.
The sources said nearly a dozen MLAs and others may also be issued notices soon.
The SOG registered the FIR on the basis of facts that surfaced during interception of two mobile numbers which indicated that efforts were being made to poach ruling party MLAs, a senior police official had said.
The Chief Minister had alleged that attempts were being made to destabilise the state government ahead of Rajya Sabha elections for two seats in the state last month and the government chief whip had filed complaints with the SOG and ACB demanding inquiry an inquiry into the case.
In the Rajasthan Assembly of 200, the Congress has 107 MLAs, including six those who defected to the party from the BSP last year. The party enjoys the support of 12 of the 13 Independent MLAs in the state.
Last month, after three Congress MLAs had resigned ahead of the June 19 Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat, the party had shifted as many as 25 legislators to a private resort in Rajasthan to prevent poaching by the ruling BJP in Gujarat.
Congress had also sent its Rajathan MLAs including the independents to a resort to prevent them from being poached by the BJP.
Earlier, the elections were scheduled scheduled for March 26 but were allegedly postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading in Rajasthan to destabilise the government here and said that BJP wants to repeat the Madhya Pradesh story in Rajasthan too.
In the Rajya Sabha election which was held in June, the Congress bagged two seats while BJP one in Rajasthan. In Madhya Pradesh, the ruling BJP had won two while the Congress one in the Upper House of the Parliament.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government lost power in March after senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia switched to the BJP with 22 loyalist MLAS. Yesterday, an audio clip surfaced in which the BJP’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was purportedly heard claiming that the government was pulled down by the BJP’s central leaders.
The other state where the Congress lost power was Karnataka. The government led by Congress ally HD Kumaraswamy collapsed in July last year after 16 legislators and two independents supporting it, resigned.