regular-article-logo Friday, 29 September 2023

Delhi Assembly adjourned till Thursday as AAP MLAs seek CBI probe into 'Operation Lotus'

This was the third day of the special session that was disrupted with ruling party and opposition BJP MLAs forcing adjournments

PTI New Delhi Published 31.08.22, 01:24 PM
AAP MLAs protest demanding a probe into the alleged Operation Lotus of BJP to topple opposition-ruled state governments, outside the Delhi Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

AAP MLAs protest demanding a probe into the alleged Operation Lotus of BJP to topple opposition-ruled state governments, outside the Delhi Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Delhi Assembly proceedings were adjourned till Thursday following sloganeering by AAP MLAs who demanded a CBI probe into the alleged "Operation Lotus" by the BJP.

The AAP members also supported the BJP's demand for a probe into the allegations of poaching of MLAs.


The special session was disrupted for the third day on Wednesday as the ruling AAP and opposition BJP MLAs forced adjournments. The session had commenced on Friday.

At a press conference earlier in the day, the BJP said the claims by AAP MLAs that they have been approached by the party and offered up to Rs 20 crore to switch sides is a matter of forensic investigation and they should undergo a lie detector test.

AAP leaders had visited Rajghat last week to underline the failure of 'Operation Lotus' in Delhi. They had alleged that BJP had tried to poach some of their MLAs, including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, by offering them Rs 20 crore each but had failed to do so since their lawmakers were "hard-core honest''.

As soon as the House assembled for a discussion on the confidence motion on Wednesday, BJP MLA Vijender Gupta asked Deputy Speaker Rakhi Birla to take up his calling attention motion, even as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Atishi tried to raise the issue of alleged "Operation Lotus" of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Members of both sides shouted slogans, prompting Birla to adjourn the House till 11.30 am.

The AAP MLAs also torched an effigy of "Operation Lotus" at the Assembly premises, even as the BJP called it an 'unconstitutional incident' against which legal action should be taken.

Gupta's calling attention motion concerned alleged corruption in the construction of classrooms in Delhi government schools.

When the House reconvened, Gupta asked Birla under which rule she allowed Atishi to make a statement on issues other than the no-confidence motion. He kept on questioning Birla while his party MLAs also supported him.

Birla said the opposition members had not allowed the house to function in the last few days, and marshalled out Gupta following which his fellow MLAs walked out in protest.

Atishi alleged that the BJP is an "anti-women party as its members do not allow a woman to speak while another woman is in the chair".

Her allegations were also supported by her party members who also started raising slogans against the saffron party, calling it a "Bachcha Chor Party", apparently referring to the arrest of a BJP corporator in a child kidnapping case.

She alleged that the BJP tried to de-establish the Delhi government through its "Operation Lotus which involves three steps -- using central agencies (ED, CBI, Income Tax department), scaring ruling party MLAs and luring them".

"Our MLAs were offered Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore to leave the AAP. Is this the democracy the prime minister talks about from the Red Fort. This is not the first time they are doing so. They did the same in Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh," she alleged.

"The BJP has bought 277 MLAs for Rs 6,300 crore under the 'Operation Lotus'. They collected this money by increasing fuel prices," she alleged.

AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak said, "The BJP has said a probe should be carried out into the AAP MLA's poaching charges. We welcome and support BJP MPs demand for this probe."

Party MLA Kuldeep Kumar alleged that when he refused the BJP's offer of Rs 20 crore, "they threatened to frame me and send behind the bars in a fake case".

AAP MLAs also raised slogans, demanding CBI probe into alleged "Operation Lotus", following which the House was adjourned for the day.

Gupta, who was marshalled out, said the government is "hell-bent on evading people's questions" about the way they "looted public money".

"In the three days since the special assembly session was called, the government did not allow 'Question Hour', 'Short Duration Discussion' or any other opposition question to be raised in the assembly," he claimed.

He added that this is the "first time" that the assembly session has been called without any agenda.

Later in the day, a delegation of the ruling party MLAs sat on a dharna outside the CBI headquarters after it went to meet agency director Subodh Kumar Jaiswal to demand a probe into alleged attempts to topple non-BJP government but was not allowed entry.

The AAP had said it would meet Jaiswal to demand a probe into the alleged attempts to unseat non-BJP governments in various states by the saffron party by poaching legislators under 'Operation Lotus'.

The 10-member delegation of AAP MLAs reached the CBI headquarters to meet its director at 3 pm even though his office had not given any response to their request for the meeting.

In a statement, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri termed the burning of effigy by AAP MLAs 'as highly condemnable and unconstitutional incident'.

Bidhuri said he has written a letter to the Lieutenant Governor giving information about the incident and requesting him to take legal action by summoning a report from the Assembly Secretary in this matter.

"It is not only unconstitutional but also dangerous for the security of the assembly building, as it was set on fire," he said. Bidhuri has also sent a video of the inciden

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