Arvind Kejriwal Claims “Operation Lotus” In Punjab: BJP Approached 10 MLAs – NDTV

Arvind Kejriwal Claims 'Operation Lotus' In Punjab: BJP Approached 10 MLAs

The party claims that the BJP has shifted its focus to Punjab, having failed in Delhi. (File)

New Delhi:

Arvind Kejriwal today alleged that 10 MLAs of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were approached by the BJP in its attempt to bring down the Punjab government. On a day the Congress lost most of its MLAs in Goa to the state’s ruling BJP, the AAP chief accused the BJP of plotting similar defections from his party in Delhi and Punjab.

“Our 10 MLAs have been approached in Punjab by the BJP; they are buying MLAs and breaking governments,” Arvind Kejriwal said.

“BJP is poaching MLAs by spending crores across the country in the name of Operation Lotus, this is wrong. But it is also the Congress’s fault. BJP could not break our MLAs in Delhi, Punjab,” he remarked.

Punjab Minister Harpal Cheema of AAP said he would file a complaint with the police chief and show him proof of phone calls.

“In all ten MLAs were targeted. BJP is trying to break 35 MLAs,” Mr Cheema claimed, adding that after he raised the allegation, some leaders had been threatened.

Mr Kejriwal and AAP had recently accused the BJP of trying an “Operation Lotus” in Delhi and inducing MLAs to defect.

The party claims that the BJP has shifted its focus to Punjab, having failed in Delhi.

“Operation Lotus” is the term used by Opposition parties to describe what they call “poaching” of MLAs by the BJP to topple governments.

Earlier this month, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party accused the BJP of misusing central government’s agencies and offering “Rs 20 crore each” to some of its Delhi MLAs to cross over to the national party.

“The BJP is offering Rs 25 crore per MLA to switch sides. Operation Lotus may have succeeded in Karnataka, but the Delhi MLAs stayed firm and failed the BJP operation,” said Mr Cheema at a press conference.

“If there is a change of government in Punjab, you (MLAs) will be offered big promotions, posts,” said Mr Cheema, reiterating that MLAs have received very many calls asking them to bring down the Bhagwant Mann-led government.

The BJP has dismissed the charge. “The baseless allegation made by the Punjab minister Harpal Cheema against the BJP of toppling the state government shows that AAP is leading to a big split in Punjab. The party is on the verge of being torn apart by Kejriwal’s interference,” said the BJP’s Subhash Sharma.

While highlighting the allegation, AAP’s Raghav Chadha took a swipe at the Congress.

“Operation Lotus: Fails in Delhi and Punjab, succeeds in Goa. Why? Because… When you vote for Congress, you elect a future BJP MLA. Congress is over, resting in pieces,” Mr Chadha tweeted.

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