Power play: MP Congress alleges BJP ‘luring’ MLAs with money

Bhopal: Charges and counter-charges flew thick and fast over the BJP’s alleged attempt to pull down the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh. The row gathered momentum on Tuesday with the Chief Minister himself claiming that the BJP was trying to lure the ruling party legislators. On Monday the leader of the Opposition, Gopal Bhargav wrote a letter to Governor Anandiben Patel requesting her to convene a special session of the state assembly.

“We want to discuss issues of critical importance in the special session and we would also see whether this government can sustain itself through the division of votes on financial matters,” Bhargav had told newsmen in Bhopal.

Insiders say Bhargav has been admonished by the party’s central leadership for going to the press over the issue. The action is said to have followed former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s report to the central leaders. Chouhan had also spoken to some television channels over the issue.

However, Kamal Nath who addressed the media on Tuesday claimed all the MLAs were in touch with him and that he had full faith in them. We have already faced the floor test and are ready for it again. Exit polls have become a source of entertainment now. The BJP is trying to sustain the party member’ morale with such tactics, he said.

State cabinet minister Pradyumn Singh Tomar had on Tuesday alleged that the BJP was luring Congress MLAs by offering up to Rs 50 crore. The minister, however, said none of the MLAs fell for the trap.

Singh said BJP was worried many former senior leaders might be brought to book in the infamous Vyapam scam and the other frauds and therefore desparate to bring down the Congress government.

Public Relations Minister P.C. Sharma went a step further to claim more than 20 BJP MLAs were in touch with the Congress and could switch once the BJP fails to return to power in New Delhi after May 23.

On the offer of heavy bribe to the Congress MLAs to switch over, Sharma said the opposition party has already realised by now that the Congress MLAs are made of “sterner stuf”. “They won’t fall for money, they have their own self-respect,” claimed Sharma.

State BJP chief Rakesh Singh had also claimed on Monday that the Congress ministry would come down on its own due to internal discord.

Ever since the Congress came to power with support of allies, the BJP has been doubting the stability of the government, saying the ruling party was beset with factionalism. The BJP onslaught had intensified after exit polls suggested landslide win for NDA led by the BJP.

Congress won 114 of the state’s 230 seats in the state assembly nearly six months ago where the majority mark is 116. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party then offered unconditional support to the government. The BSP has two seats in the House and the SP one. The BJP has 109 seats. Four Independents are also backing the government. After the Chhindwara MLA Deepak Saksena resigned to vacate the seat for Kamal Nath, the Congress strength is 113.

Even the betting market or ‘satta bazaar’ in Phalodi in Rajasthan was saw punters wagering on the issue. Big-time gambling is going on in Phalodi market over the tenure of Kamal Nath. Interestingly, the Indore betting, which is equally important, has been quiet. The market is sluggish after several arrests in Bhopal two months ago during the IPL cricket tournament.