40 MLAs were targeted by BJP with offer of Rs 20 crore each: AAP

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Arvind Kejriwal. Photo: ANI

New Delhi: The AAP alleged on Thursday that 40 of its Delhi MLAs were targeted by the BJP with an offer of Rs 20 crore each to switch sides, even as all the 62 of its legislators were accounted for during a meeting at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence.

The meeting that concluded within minutes was physically attended by 53 MLAs, including Kejriwal. Seven MLAs were out of station while minister Satyendar Jain is in jail, said Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj. Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan had joined the meeting over the phone, he added.

All the AAP MLAs, led by Kejriwal, reached Mahatma Gandhi's memorial Rajghat after the meeting to pray for the failure of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) "Operation Lotus".

Ahead of the meeting, sources in the AAP had claimed that 12 MLAs were incommunicado for a couple of days while hoping that they would join Thursday's deliberations at Kejriwal's residence.

Bhardwaj said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) should probe from where the BJP got Rs 800 to "poach" AAP MLAs.

"Twelve AAP MLAs were contacted by the BJP to switch sides. The MLAs have, however, said they are with the AAP. The BJP was targeting 40 AAP MLAs with an offer of Rs 20 crore each to switch sides," Bhardwaj alleged.

BJP leaders have dismissed the AAP's "poaching" claim, terming it a "public stunt" by the Kejriwal-led party.

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said the AAP is trying to divert people's attention and questioned Kejriwal's "silence" over the Delhi excise policy.

Four AAP MLAs who had claimed on Wednesday that they were approached by BJP leaders with an offer to switch sides said they were told that the saffron party was in touch with "20-25 MLAs" of the Kejriwal-led party.

The AAP government has also convened a special session of the Delhi Assembly on Friday over CBI, ED probes, raids targeting its ministers and the "poaching" efforts made by the BJP.

The saffron party has challenged the AAP to reveal the names of those who allegedly contacted its MLAs with an offer to switch sides and charged that the Kejriwal-led party is trying hard to divert attention from the Delhi government''s liquor "scam".


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