New purported sting targets Rawat; BJP, Cong trade charges

New purported sting targets Rawat; BJP, Cong trade charges
Allegations of horse-trading and blackmailing flew thick and fast today ahead of May 10 trust vote, as Harish Rawat came under attack over a new sting video with BJP accusing him of trying to "buy" legislators while the ousted Uttarakhand Chief Minister claimed that MLAs were being threatened and their phones tapped by central agencies.

A purported sting video targeting Harish Rawat which allegedly showed a conversation between rebel Congress MLA Harak Singh Rawat and Congress legislator Madan Singh Bisht was released today by a TV channel, further stirring the political cauldron with the deposed CM accusing the central government and BJP of indulging in "politics of blackmail".

Bisht allegedly said in the video that Harish Rawat was giving the money he had earned from mining to his MLAs to keep his flock together.

BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari alleged that the video showed that Harish Rawat was "himself involved in horse-trading".

"Earlier also there was a sting and now also a new sting video has come out in which the MLA is himself saying that the Chief Minister is allegedly giving Rs 25-30 Lakh to his own MLAs to placate them," he claimed at a press conference in New Delhi.

The Congress hit back alleging that BJP was hatching a conspiracy against Harish Rawat ahead of the trust vote. The party also wrote to Governor K K Paul, demanding that BJP leader and Uttarkhand incharge Kailash Vijayvargiya be kept away from the state till the trust vote takes place as he was "trying to vitiate the political atmosphere" in the state.

"I charge the central government and the BJP that they are trying to create this politics of siege in this state. I have decided that after May 10th result, all these blackmailers who are blatantly trying to trap people by offering financial and other allurements, who are trying to blackmail the people, we will launch a fight against them under the leadership of Kishor Upadhyaya," Rawat said.

The Congress leader alleged that his phones and those of his relatives and aides were being tapped. "Central agencies are harassing Congress people through various ways," he alleged.

"Central agencies are openly being misused and not only my MLAs but political leaders are being threatened," he said.

"Our MLAs and leaders are getting threatening messages from conduits who are posing as relatives, well-wishers and acquaintances," Rawat told reporters here.

"I am also being kept under surveillance as if I am an anti-national," he alleged. Rawat had faced allegations of horse-trading earlier aftera purported sting video allegedly showed him negotiating to bring back rebel legislators.

Uttarakhand Congress Chief Kishor Upadhyaya alleged that BJP may conspire to deny Rawat an opportunity to seek trust vote in the Assembly.

"I fear that BJP may hatch a conspiracy to deny Rawat this opportunity. I have come to know that the responsibility for this has been given to BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh Kailash Vjayvargiya, who is an expert in such tactics," he alleged at a press conference here.

The Congress leader said that he has written to the Governor in this regard. "In the letter to the Governor I have said that for the last three-four months, Vaijayvargiya has vitiated the political atmosphere in Uttarakhand. To safeguard the state's prestige and to save democray, he should be stopped from taking part in e political activities till May 10," he said.

Taking potshots at BJP, the Congress leader said he has also written to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan that "only his state should benefit from Vijayvargiya's expertise".

"I have requested him that he should call back the honourable MLA to his state or else he will booked here for his corrupt activities," he said.

He said the developments in Uttrakhand are a matter of worry not only for the state but the entire country.

"Forces which are inimical to the state's interests have put a blot on its image and left deep wounds. The BJP is guilty of trying to establish its government not through democratic means but by using its money and musle power," he said.

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