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AAP sees plot to buy lawmakers

Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Madan Lal at the media conference. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, Feb. 3: The Aam Aadmi Party today alleged a BJP plot to pull down the Arvind Kejriwal government by buying off MLAs, but offered little evidence.

Delhi’s ruling party also accused the Congress, now extending outside support to its government, of a similar conspiracy but its charges against the BJP were more strident.

“Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi are conspiring to pull down our government. Our MLAs are being enticed with cash and key ministerial berths to defect,” alleged Sanjay Singh, a member of the party’s political affairs committee.

The allegation comes following a threat by three MLAs — AAP rebel Vinod Kumar Binny, Janata Dal (United) member Shoaib Iqbal and Independent Ramveer Shokeen — to withdraw their support to the state government.

Singh declared that his party would launch a “pol khol (unmasking)” programme from tomorrow to expose BJP and Congress designs to defame and destabilise the Kejriwal government.

Observers suggested the party’s move to hit out at both the BJP and the Congress was an effort to project itself as the “real alternative” in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

Singh claimed Modi was worried that the Aam Aadmi Party’s rising popularity would thwart his ambition of becoming Prime Minister and was therefore desperate to hurt the Kejriwal government. He paraded a party MLA before the media to buttress his allegation.

“Two persons met me around 10-12 days ago. They claimed to be from Gujarat and said they were close to Narendra Modi,” alleged Madan Lal, member from Kasturba Nagar.

“They asked me to try and split the Aam Aadmi Party MLAs and offered me the chief minister’s post as well as Rs 20 crore.”

Asked to name the two persons who had allegedly approached him, Lal appeared reluctant. When the reporters persisted, he named one of them as “Sanjay Singh” without giving any other detail.

That caused some mirth, since a senior Aam Aadmi Party leader with the same name was sitting beside him.

Lal alleged he had been approached on behalf of the BJP not once but three times. He claimed the first approach took place on December 7 —which means it allegedly happened a day before the announcement of the poll results that revealed his party’s stunning performance.

Lal claimed he received a phone call from an unknown person who urged him to meet Jaitley. “On hearing Jaitley’s name, I banged the phone down immediately,” Lal said.

He said a few days later, an advocate friend asked him to defect to the BJP with some other party MLAs.

Asked why had he not recorded the conversations given his party’s penchant for sting operations — and given Kejriwal’s call to Delhiites to expose the corrupt through stings — Lal said he did not have any recording devices.

The MLA, a criminal lawyer, said he was not interested in recording the conversations anyway because he did not want to fight a legal case over the issue.

Asked how he could make such accusations without proof, Lal said: “I can tell you with all authority that whatever allegation I am levelling is true.”

Jaitley later tweeted: “Rubbish claims by AAP. AAP’s alternative politics includes right to falsehood and lies.”

Sanjay Singh then targeted the Congress-led central government, alleging a conspiracy behind the National Thermal Power Corporation threat to stop supply to Delhi on the account of dues.

“Earlier, the NTPC had never threatened to stop power supply. Other states have more dues than Delhi, so why is Delhi alone being threatened?” he asked.

The Aam Aadmi Party plans to contest over 350 Lok Sabha seats by projecting Kejriwal as a better alternative than Modi and Rahul Gandhi.