'BJP indulging in horse-trading'

AAP, Cong allege party trying to engineer defections in their ranks
Last Updated 18 June 2014, 20:22 IST

The political temperature in Delhi rose on Wednesday with some Congress and AAP MLAs alleging that the BJP was trying to form a government by engineering defections, a charge denied by the saffron party.

The BJP, which enjoys support of 29 legislators in the 67-member Assembly, was targeted by AAP legislator from Kasturba Nagar, Madan Lal, for alleged attempts to win his and other party legislators’ support for government formation.

Madan Lal had also accused the BJP of attempting horse-trading a day before the Assembly results were declared in December 2013.

While the AAP held a meeting of all its legislators, apparently, to keep its flock together, senior party leader Gopal Rai warned the BJP against adopting unethical means to form a government.

“If the BJP wins over MLAs of other parties, it will be the height of political corruption right under the nose of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has just been given a huge mandate for clean politics,” he said.

Congress MLA from Seelampur, Mateen Ahmed, also joined the chorus that the BJP leaders were in touch with legislators from rival parties to cobble up a majority in the House.

The veteran MLA had recently admitted talking to BJP leaders on options for the city government formation without forcing a fresh Assembly election.

He also nudged the AAP to take a decisive stand during the times of political uncertainty. “The AAP should back a Congress government in the city otherwise the BJP will form a government,” he said.

The AAP has 27 MLAs, the Congress has eight MLAs and there are three others in the House which has been placed under animated suspension since February 17 when the Arvind Kejriwal government stepped down.

The BJP, meanwhile, dismissed all talk of exploring “unethical” means of formation of a Delhi government. 

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who is also BJP’s incharge for Delhi elections, told a TV channel: “BJP is not looking to form a government in Delhi at this stage.”BJP leader Aman Sinha said the allegations of attempted ‘horse trading’ made by the AAP MLAs against our party were baseless. 

“They have no evidence and AAP MLA Madan Lal has no credibility as he had made a similar claim one day before the Assembly poll results were declared,” he said.Sinha said the decision on whether the party wants to form a government in Delhi would be taken by the Parliamentary board at the right time.

Interestingly, a few Facebook pages have come flashing names of BJP legislators Jagdish Mukhi and MPs Meenakshi Lekhi and Ramesh Bidhuri as probable chief ministerial faces. Some hoardings have also come up, prominently displaying these leaders’ credentials.

Lekhi, the MP from New Delhi constituency, when asked about a hoarding with a message “Meenakshi Lekhi for CM”, said: “I do not know who has put up the hoarding.”

“Any decision on the issue (on the next chief ministerial face of the BJP) would depend on what the party leaders want and the wish of the people,” she said. 

(Published 18 June 2014, 20:22 IST)

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