‘Operation Lotus’: Has BJP Tried to Bribe AAP’s MLAs in Punjab?


Punjab police have filed an FIR against BJP leaders in the state based on a complaint from the AAP. The Bhagwant Mann-led government alleges that the saffron party attempted Operation Lotus, offering Rs 25 crore to 10 of its MLAs to escape

AAP claimed that the BJP’s attempt to bribe its MLAs in Punjab failed and that they were loyal to Bhagwant Mann and Arvind Kejriwal. PTIA

Is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) trying to overthrow the government of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab? That is the accusation that the Bhagwant Mann-led government made against the opposition party on Wednesday, after which the Punjab police filed an FIR.

BJP’s Punjab unit dismissed the allegations as “baseless” and a “bundle of lies”.

Notably, the development came on a day when eight MLAs from Congress in Goa, including former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, joined the ruling BJP in a major blow to the big old party that now has just three MLAs left in the 40 member states. Edit.

Here’s a better understanding of what’s going on in Punjab – the AAP’s allegations and the BJP’s rebuttal of the claims.

‘Bribery of his MLAs’

On Wednesday, the Punjab Police Department registered a case under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Sections 171-B and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), after the AAP’s ruling filed a complaint with the state accused DGP and the BJP of attempting to poach its MLAs.

The AAP had previously claimed that at least 10 of its MLAs had been approached by the BJP with an offer of Rs 25 crore each in an attempt to overthrow the state government.

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Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said in a speech to the media that they wanted to “expose the BJP’s unholy tactics”.

He said BJP operatives and workers from Delhi and Punjab had allegedly tried to take 35 MLAs away from AAP in order to overthrow the government in Punjab.

“For the past week they have been trying to buy out our legislators. Seven to 10 MLAs have been contacted directly or indirectly through their leaders and agents from Punjab and Delhi. They told our MLAs that their meeting will be arranged with ‘vadde baau ji’ and with major leaders in Delhi, and also offered them Rs 25 crore each,” Cheema said at a press conference.

He added that BJP leaders and agents had also issued death threats to Jalandhar West MLA Sheetal Angural, he said. “He was told that if the evidence was presented, he would be killed. We also have proof of that,” Cheema claimed.

The Finance Minister of Punjab said the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ had failed in Punjab and it would never succeed in Punjab even if they offered Rs 2,200 crore because the loyal soldiers of AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal and CM Bhagwant Mann as a stone.

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Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that after attempting to lure MLAs in Delhi, they have tried the same in Punjab but failed as they cannot buy AAP lawmakers.

In response to the developments, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal criticized the BJP’s alleged ‘Operation Lotus’ but said Congress was also to blame.

“BJP is blocking MLAs by issuing all over the country in the name of Operation Lotus, this is wrong. But it is also Congress’s fault. BJP couldn’t break our MLAs in Delhi, Punjab,” he said.

The AAP had previously claimed that several of its MLAs in Delhi had been contacted and offered the BJP crores to “break up” the party. This happened against the background of an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia over the state’s excise tax policy.

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Kejriwal had also said that the BJP offered AAP MLAs of Rs 20 crore each in exchange for crossing over, and even more if they could take other MLAs with them.

Refutation of BJP

BJP National General Secretary Tarun Chugh described the AAP’s claims as the “most ridiculous joke” and demanded a CBI investigation into the allegations.

according to a PTIA news report, Chugh said: “It is the most ridiculous joke that AAP is playing on Punjabis for the simple reason that they want to divert people’s attention from the gross corruption that the AAP government has done in the drinking policy in Punjab.”

Chugh said that by going to the DGP with a complaint based on fake calls, the AAP government is plunging into cheap and deceitful politics which would prove a disaster for Punjab in the long run.

He said a similar tactic was employed by AAP in Delhi, which ultimately “turned out to be a hoax”.

“AAP is playing a policy of ridicule and mimicry to divert people’s attention from the core issues that pose a serious threat to Punjab,” he said.

With input from agencies

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