Four of the six MLAs of the ruling dispensation in Madhya Pradesh who returned from Delhi on Wednesday, have denied Congress claims that the BJP offered them money or held them hostage at a hotel in Gurugram. All four, however, made it clear that there was no threat to the state's Kamal Nath government.
Six MLAs, three from the Congress- Kamlesh Jatav, Ranveer Jatav and Aidal Singh Kansana - BSP MLAs Sanjiv Kushwah and Rambai Thakur and one SP MLA Rajesh Shukla returned to Bhopal on Wednesday. Ministers Jeetu Patwari and Tarun Bhanot, who accompanied them, claimed they had been forcibly taken to Gurugram by the BJP with the plan to destabilise the Congress-led government.
Three of the Congress MLAs and an independent MLA -- who were allegedly flown by Bengaluru by BJP leaders -- are yet to return. A fourth sent his resignation from the assembly to the Speaker today.
Former minister and Congress MLA Aidal Singh Kansana, a Digvijaya Singh loyalist, denied claims of bribery or coercion. Three others -- Sanjiv Kushwah and Rambai Thakur of Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party and Rajesh Shukla of the Samajwadi Party agreed.
The BSP legislator from Bhind, Sanjiv Kushwah, said the Congress leaders were making "hollow claims just to score brownie points from their party high command". "I am warning them -- don't fire a gun from someone else's shoulder," he said, demanding that the Congress leaders provide evidence on their claims.
Samajwadi Party MLA Rajesh Shukla, said "I am 6 feet tall, from a well-to-do family... No one has the power to hold us hostage or even rescue us. We'll go wherever we want to. No one can force or rescue us".
The suspended BSP MLA from Pathariya seat Rambai Thakur said claims that former home minister and BJP leader Bhupendra Singh "had taken me to Delhi in a chartered plane, are lying".
"I was going to Delhi-Gurugram to meet my daughter and Bhupendra Singh was boarding the same plane. Should I have de-boarded since he was there? All of us are firmly with Kamal Nath government," Rambai Thakur added.
BJP leader and former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, whom sources had named in the alleged BJP plot, has also denied his party's role in the matter, saying it was an "internal matter of the Congress".