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Punjab AAP MLAs offered 25 cr each to topple Mann govt, alleges minister

Published on Sep 13, 2022 09:40 PM IST

The BJP, however, rubbished the allegations of Punjab finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema and said they are "baseless" and a "bundle of lies".

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann.(ANI file)
By | Written by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi'

Punjab finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Tuesday made a sensational claim alleging that under the BJP's “Operation Lotus”, it is offering 20-25 crore each to AAP MLAs in a bid to topple the Bhagwant Mann government in the state. The BJP, however, rubbished the allegations and said they are "baseless" and a "bundle of lies", claiming that the AAP was trying to divert the attention of people from its "failures", news agency PTI reported.

Cheema told reporters that the BJP had approached some of AAP legislators in the state, adding that seven to 10 AAP MLAs have been approached with offers of money and ministerial positions.

"Our MLAs in Punjab are being contacted. They are being contacted telephonically by some people of the BJP who were sent by the BJP’s central leadership to break our legislators away from the party," PTI quoted Cheema as saying.

"They approached our MLAs and told them that their meeting will be arranged with ‘vadde baau ji’ and with big leaders in Delhi, and also offered them 25 crore each," he added.

The state finance minister said they were told “if you bring three-four MLAs, then you will be offered 50-70 crore”.

Cheema said when one of the party MLAs asked how it would topple the government of AAP which has 92 MLAs, they were told that they just needed 35 MLAs to topple the government as they were in touch with legislators from other parties.

He alleged that the Congress MLAs were "bought" in Madhya Pradesh and other states. "Maybe, here also they are in touch with them (Congress MLAs)," he alleged.

Cheema alleged that the BJP kept 1,375 crore for breaking 55 MLAs away in Punjab.

"The BJP wants to spend 1,375 crore in Punjab to topple the AAP government," he said, adding that the BJP had earlier tried to topple the AAP government in Delhi with 800 crore.

When asked about names of MLAs who were approached, Cheema said, "Many MLAs have got calls. It is a matter of investigation."

BJP rejects AAP allegations

Punjab BJP general secretary Jeevan Gupta, while slamming AAP for its allegations, said, "The AAP government has failed in fulfilling its guarantees and when people ask questions about them, they try to divert attention by making such false accusations."

BJP leader Anil Sareen asked Cheema to immediately make public from where their MLAs received calls and who tried to lure them. He demanded that either Cheema should publicly declare phone numbers from where the calls were received or quit his post.

(With inputs from agencies)

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