This Article is From Aug 25, 2022

"BJP Tried To Poach 40 MLAs ": AAP Prays At Rajghat For 'Op Lotus' Failure

AAP Attacks BJP Over Delhi Government Toppling: AAP leader Dilip Pandey said the BJP "is preparing to break 40 MLAs" but projected confidence that all MLAs would attend the meeting.

AAP-BJP Delhi Face-Off: Visuals from inside Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence.

New Delhi:

Arvind Kejriwal's "emergency" meeting of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs today produced a reassuring headcount as the party accused the BJP of offering Rs 20 crore to its MLAs to topple its government in Delhi.

Fifty-three of AAP's 62 MLAs in Delhi attended the meeting at the Chief Minister's home. Those missing are all accounted for and pledged their support on the speaker phone with Arvind Kejriwal, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said. At least 12 MLAs said they had received BJP offers and each pledged support to Mr Kejriwal "till their last breath", he said.

After the meeting, Mr Kejriwal and his MLAs went in a large group to Mahatma Gandhi's memorial Rajghat "to pray for the failure of the BJP's Operation Lotus".

"I have heard that they are trying to bribe 40 MLAs to cross over. I am happy that not a single MLA has given in," Mr Kejriwal told reporters.

In the morning, there were tense moments for AAP as it tracked the arrivals at the meeting and tried to contact MLAs who were "unreachable". "All MLAs are being contacted. Yesterday the message(of the meeting) was communicated and the MLAs with whom contact could not be established will be done. BJP is preparing to break 40 MLAs," Mr Pandey told reporters.

AAP has 62 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi assembly. The BJP has eight and needs 28 more for a majority. Under the anti-defection law, around 40 MLAs can break away from AAP without facing action.

AAP has accused the BJP of plotting an "Operation Lotus" to bring down its government in the pattern of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

AAP leaders claim the BJP is offering Rs 20 crore to their MLAs and Rs 25 crore if they bring more with them.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was the first to raise such allegations, two days after the CBI raided him over alleged corruption in the Delhi liquor policy.

Mr Sisodia claimed the BJP had reached out to him with an offer to drop cases against him and make him Chief Minister if he switched sides. AAP has not given any evidence or names to back the claims.

"I must have done good deeds in my previous life that I've got someone like Manish Sisodia with me. He rejected their offer. Now they (BJP) are after our MLAs offering money to join BJP," Mr Kejriwal said. According to him, the CBI found nothing in a 14-hour raid on Mr Sisodia.

The AAP chief also questioned how BJP had Rs 800 crore to buy 40 MLAs.

The BJP has denied AAP's allegations, accusing it of trying to divert attention from corruption in its government.

"AAP is following a movie script. These are tactics to escape corruption charges," said BJP's Parvesh Varma.

Mr Sisodia is among 15 people named in an FIR filed by the CBI. Three bureaucrats, liquor barons and private individuals are also on the list. The Enforcement Directorate has also filed a money-laundering case.