Would prevent 'Operation lotus' in Maharashtra: Chavan

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said on Wednesday that the party was on alert to prevent a possible "Operation lotus" -- attempts by the BJP to engineer defections from other parties -- in Maharashtra.

As President's rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday, the Congress and NCP are in talks about whether to support the Shiv Sena for government formation.

Chavan, a former chief minister, alleged while speaking to a news channel that the BJP was trying to stop the Sena from joining hands with the Congress and NCP.

"We are alert about `Operation lotus'," he said.

He was referring to BJP leader Narayan Rane's statement on Tuesday that former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had asked Rane to start work on forming a BJP-led government in the state.

Rane had said he would do "whatever it takes" to ensure his party formed the next government.

Chavan said the Congress was holding internal meetings and also holding talks with the NCP to work out a possible Common Minimum Programme if a government was to be formed with the Sena.

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