Cong, BJP spar over horse-trading charge

Cong, BJP spar over horse-trading charge

Madhya Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel arrives with Madhya Pradesh Assembly speaker NP Prajapati, MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Govind Singh to address the winter session, in Bhopal on Tuesday. PTI

Mutual recrimination over alleged horse-trading to destabilise the one month-old Kamal Nath government has intensified following former chief minister Digvijaya Singh's sensational allegation that two senior BJP leaders offered Rs 100 crore each to some Congress MLAs to defect to their side.

The senior Congress leader claimed on Tuesday in the state Assembly press room that two former BJP ministers Narottam Mishra and Vishvas Sarang had offered Rs 100 crore to Congress MLA Baijnath Kushwaha for crossing over to the BJP.

Accusing the BJP of trying to destabilise the government, the senior Congress leader said the Opposition party also contacted one SP and two BSP MLAs with the offer to make them ministers if they switched allegiance.

"If need arises, I will produce those MLAs before the media," he said.

Kushwaha confirmed that he was indeed approached with an offer of money and a minister post.

"Both Mishra and Sarang told me that if I come to their side, my next seven generations will have no financial problems. They even said a chartered plane was ready to fly me to Delhi if I accept the offer but I flatly refused and told Digvijaya Singh about it," Kushwaha said.

Mishra and Sarang vehemently denied the Congress MLA’s claim. They dared the Kamal Nath government to take action against them if it has any proof about the alleged offer.

Soon after the Assembly election results were out, speculations were rife that Mishra and Sarang were active behind the curtain to rope in some non-BJP MLAs to stitch together a BJP government.

Although former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had politely conceded defeat, a section of the BJP was said to be unwilling to let the Congress form government.

The Congress had won 114 seats and the BJP 107 in the 230-strong state Assembly.

There is a rumour that the gameplan to engineer defection failed as Kamal Nath outmanoeuvred the Opposition with a close watch on potential defectors, including the independent MLAs.