Attempts are being made to poach on the MLAs of Telangana's ruling party, and three persons were detained from a farmhouse while trying to cut a deal, the Telangana police have said. The targets were four MLAs of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, who had tipped off the police, police chief Stephen Raveendra told NDTV in an exclusive interview. Sources said the deals could be to the tune of Rs 100 crore or more. In this case, they had offered Rs 100 crore to the key person, plus Rs 50 crore for each MLA, a source said.
The search at the farmhouse located in Aziz Nagar was conducted this evening, the police said. The MLAs had called the police, saying they were being "lured and bribed to change parties," Mr Raveendra told NDTV. "They said they were offered big money, contracts and posts to switch parties," he added.
The police have so far ascertained that the men detained had come to Hyderabad on fake identities, he added.
The police said the detained persons have identified themselves as Satiesh Sharma, alias Ram Chandra Bharati, a priest from Haryana's Faridabad, D Simhayaji, a seer from Tirupathi, and a businessman, Nandakumar.
Tandur MLA Pilot Rohit Reddy, at whose farmhouse the deal was brokered, has been described as a complainant. The four MLAs were taken to Pragathi Bhavan, the Chief Minister's official residence.
Since 2019, there have been claims that the BJP was attempting to launch an "Operation Lotus" in Telangana, another southern state where the party is yet to find a toehold.
The claims have been fuelled by the events in Maharashtra, where the BJP-backed rebellion of Eknath Shinde toppled the Uddhav Thackeray government earlier this year.
Recently, Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party claimed that the BJP was trying to poach on its MLAs in Delhi and Punjab.
In August, there were reports of a BJP leader claiming that around 18 MLAs of TRS would soon join the BJP.
Telangana BJP leaders DK Aruna and the BJP MP from Nizamabad, D Arvind, said Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his party organised the "horse-trade drama" to distract attention from Munugode, they said.
"It is a drama. KCR understood that the TRS is losing in Munugode. So they orchestrated this drama," BJP leader Vivek Venkataswamy said.