Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao attacked the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, alleging that "Delhi brokers" tried to bribe four MLAs of his Telangana Rashtra Samithi party. The reference was to Wednesday's incident that took place at a farmhouse in Telangana, that has set off a political storm in the state ahead of a key by-poll that's likely to test his party.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "encouraging this kind of politics", he said he would ensure that "not a single vote from a weaver family" goes to the BJP.
"What more do you want PM Modi? There is no bigger post than the Prime Minister, is it not? You became Prime Minister not once, but twice. Why this fuss then? Why this wickedness and why this anarchy?" he said at a meeting in Munugode, where a by-election is due on November 3.
The BJP has denied allegations of poaching, declaring that it was a drama "scripted, directed and produced" by the Chief Minister. The BJP has also approached the court and the Election Commission.
"Some Delhi brokers came to challenge Telangana's self-respect... They offered Rs 100 crore to four MLAs," Mr Rao said, parading on dais the four who had called in the police at the farmhouse, alleging an "Operation Lotus". Three persons -- one of them a businessman – were arrested.
Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Nanda Kumar, and Simhayaji Swamyat have been sent to jail custody for 14 days.
The Chief Minister said because he speaks up, "They (the BJP) wanted to capture Telangana... I am telling farmers -- when we vote, we must vote carefully. We cannot get bribed, cheated by such politics".
On Wednesday, Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy had filed a complaint with the police, alleging that Ramachandra Bharati and Nanda Kumar, both belonging to the BJP, had met him and offered him Rs 100 crore to join the BJP.
The complaint mentioned that they also threatened that if they failed to comply, criminal cases will be filed against them through Central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The allegations come ahead of the by-poll in Munugode – the first election since Mr Rao launched the "Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS)", the national version of his party.