After the BJP’s “Operation Lotus” “failed in Delhi,” it is at play in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, claimed on Tuesday. The BJP, which has only two MLAs in the state, denies the charges, suggesting a rift is growing within the AAP leadership.
“Operation Lotus” is a code name used by opposition parties to refer to the BJP’s “poaching” of MLAs.
Punjab MLAs were asked to come to Delhi to meet with major leaders and offered crores to switch sides, Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema claimed.
“Come to Delhi, that brings you to meet the big BJP leaders,” Mr Cheema claimed, citing one of the calls received from a party MLA.
Earlier this month, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party accused the BJP of abusing central government authorities and offering “Rs 20 crore” each to some of its MLAs in Delhi to defect to the national party.
“The BJP is offering Rs 25 crore per MLA to change sides. Operation Lotus may have been successful in Karnataka, but the Delhi MLAs stood firm and failed in the BJP operation,” Mr Cheema told a news conference.
“When there is a change of government in Punjab, you (MLAs) will be offered big promotions and posts,” Mr Cheema said, reiterating that MLAs have received a great many calls urging them to overthrow the Bhagwant Mann-led government.
When pressed by reporters to answer how many MLAs were approached by the BJP, the Punjab minister said it was around 10 MLAs.
“For the last week they have been trying to buy our MLAs. They have approached about 7-10 MLAs directly and indirectly. Will provide evidence when the time is right,” Mr. Cheema said, adding that the AAP is working on the legal aspect of the situation.
The BJP, for its part, has described the allegations against them as “baseless”.
“Punjab Minister Harpal Cheema’s baseless claim against the BJP to overthrow the state government shows that AAP is leading to a major division in Punjab. The party is on the verge of being torn apart by Kejriwal’s interference,” Subhash Sharma said. Secretary of State, Punjab.