Dehradun: Days before former Congress Chief Minister Harish Rawat takes a floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly, a new sting has emerged, which says a Congress lawmaker has levelled cash-for-votes allegations against Mr Rawat. NDTV cannot vouch for the authenticity of the video.
- Sting shows Congress lawmaker Madan Bisht and rebel Harak Singh Rawat
- Sting alleges sacked CM offered cash-for-votes ahead of floor test
- Exploring possibility of moving court on new sting: BJP
The Congress lawmakers purportedly taking part in the conversation in the video was Madan Bisht, considered close to the chief minister, and rebel lawmaker Harak Singh Rawat.
The BJP promptly held a press conference and some within the party are said to be exploring the possibility of moving court taking note of the fresh sting.
Mr Rawat has accused BJP of blackmail. "The Centre and its BJP government is spreading divisive politics," Mr Rawat told the media today. "I have decided that after May 10 (the date of the trust vote), we will start a campaign against these blackmailers."
"Our MLAs and leaders are getting threatening messages from conduits who are posing as relatives, well-wishers and acquaintances," Mr Rawat also told reporters. "I am also being kept under surveillance as if I am an anti-national."
The sting was aired by the same channel which had come out with the earlier sting video that alleged Mr Rawat had engaged in horse-trading - bribing Congress dissidents to return to the party fold in order to maintain his numbers in the assembly.
The opposition BJP had cited the video as one of as one of key evidences of "constitutional crisis" that justified the imposition of President's Rule in the state.
The timing of the video's release is also crucial - it comes a day before the Lok Sabha is expected to take up the Uttarakhand budget. The Centre had argued that the government of Mr Rawat could not carry through the finance bill, which was the other reason it cited for the imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand.
The top court has suspended President's Rule for 2 hours on Tuesday for the trust vote. It has also disqualified the nine rebel Congress legislators who have been disqualified by the Speaker. In the reduced assembly - 62 down from 71 -- Mr Rawat needs the support of 32 lawmakers to prove his majority.