The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday accused a senior Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader of trying to bribe an AAP legislator to switch sides and help the BJP form a government in the capital, but the BJP’s local unit washed its hands off the controversy.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal released a sting video purportedly showing Delhi BJP vice president Sher Singh Dagar offering Rs 4 crore to AAP MLA Dinesh Mohaniya amid reports that the BJP was preparing to form the government in Delhi, which has been under president’s rule since February.
Mohania was allegedly told he could contest the election on a BJP ticket and even if he lost, he would be given chairmanship of any government-run board.
Neither the BJP nor the AAP have a majority to form a government in Delhi: the BJP is the single largest party in Delhi with 28 MLAs in the 67-member house, while the AAP has 27 members and the Congress only eight. There are four other members in the house.
Reports said the BJP looked set to receive an invitation from lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung any time and the party was likely to prove its majority on the floor of the house in a secret ballot.
Monday’s allegations are likely to weigh on any decision by the lieutenant governor on whether to call the BJP to form the next government in Delhi.
Video: Sting captures senior BJP leader trying to bribe AAP MLA
“Under any circumstances, we are not going to allow the BJP to form the government by using illegal means," Kejriwal said at a press conference. He added that said raw footage of the sting operation will be submitted to the Supreme Court which is set to hear a Delhi Assembly case on Tuesday.
Sources said the AAP wanted to discredit the BJP and stall any effort to form a government. The AAP has been pressing for fresh elections because its internal assessment shows it can improve its 2013 tally of 28 seats.
“Only the L-G can say what will be done. Only he can take any decision," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said when asked about the political situation in Delhi.
The BJP’s Delhi unit distanced itself from the controversy, but sought an explanation from Dagar. “The party has nothing to do with the entire episode,” said a senior BJP leader.
“We have sought an explanation from Dagar. He had not gone to meet the AAP MLA, rather he had approached BJP. Dagar is anyway not authorised to take a decision on anyone wishing to join the party,” said Satish Upadhyay, Delhi BJP president.
Dagar said Mohania had approached him to join the BJP: “If someone visits me, how can I not attend to the person?” He also said he will quit politics if the charges were proved.
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