Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday dismissed allegations by the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena of alleged ‘horse-trading’ of their MLAs and said the party doesn’t indulge in such a business.
BJP Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that nobody from the BJP is in contact with legislators from either the Congress, NCP or Shiv Sena and the accusations made against it (BJP) are erroneous.
His rebuttal came shortly after the Maharashtra Congress charged the BJP of alleged attempts at ‘horse-trading’ of its legislators, 24 hours before the tenure of the state Assembly is due to expire on November 9.
“At least half a dozen of our MLAs have received calls from some people claiming to be from the BJP. They are being lured with starting offers of Rs 25 crore each to shift loyalties,” Leader of Opposition in the outgoing assembly, Vijay N. Wadettiwar told IANS.
Though Wadettiwar has declined to name the legislators who had reportedly got such offers or from whom, Igatpuri MLA Hiraman B. Khoskar confirmed the development.
“Yes, I have been approached by some persons with offers to change my loyaltiesa However, I told them that I would not betray my party or my voters,” Khoskar told mediapersons.
However, demanding an apology from those leveling such charges, Mungantiwar said the “state government would be formed anytime” and urged the media to have patience as the BJP has 36 hours before the Assembly tenure expires.
“We are in contact with the Shiv Sena through some common friends. We are hopeful of a breakthrough anytime. Please wait, we shall convey the sweet news to you,” Mungantiwar asserted.
At the Sena Bhavan, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray reiterated that it was the “people’s desire” to see a Sena chief minister and the party would not budge from its stand, while addressing a meeting of office-bearers and legislators.
Meanwhile, alarmed by the poaching possibilities, the state Congress convened an emergency meeting of all its 44 legislators and instructed them to beware of any such tactics that the ruling party may resort to.
“As a further precaution, we have advised them to record all such mega-offer calls or conversations and send them to the leadership. We shall then expose them before the people,” Wadettiwar said.
To a question, he said though the party has not yet decided to herd all its legislators at any particular location, by evening a decision may be taken on this.
According to some other office-bearers, the susceptible legislators are likely to be shifted to Jaipur (Rajasthan) or Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) or even Delhi, though the final call is likely to be taken only later on Friday.
The Shiv Sena on Thursday has secured all its 56 legislators at Hotel Rangsharda, a modest hotel in a middle-class locality of southern Bandra and party activists are maintaining a 24×7 watch there.