The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said Thursday that 12 of its MLAs have been contacted by leaders in the BJP to break away from AAP and help topple the Delhi government.
AAP national spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said there was no danger to the Delhi government and all AAP MLAs had reiterated their commitment to the party and the people.
All 62 MLAs were called to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s house at 11 am on Thursday. Seven of them, including Manish Sisodia and Assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel, did not attend as they were not in the city. While Satyendar Jain is in jail in a case related to alleged money laundering, Amanatullah Khan could not reach because of traffic congestion but spoke to the CM on video call, Bhardwaj said.
“In the meeting, 12 MLAs said that they have been contacted by someone or the other from the BJP to break away from AAP. All MLAs said that we would stay with the party till our last breath. I declare that BJP’s Operation Lotus to break the Delhi government has failed. All the MLAs, including the CM, will now head to Rajghat to pray that Gandhi ji save the country from the BJP’s Operation Lotus. BJP wanted to break away 40 MLAs by giving them Rs 20 crore each. Where are they getting Rs 800 crore from? This is black money. Will any central agency investigate this?” he said.
Earlier, some anxiety was visible on the faces of AAP leaders as only 36 MLAs had arrived by 11 am. Slowly, however, others came in and by 11.56 am, all the MLAs had got in touch with the party leadership.
AAP had said on Wednesday that four of its MLAs – Somnath Bharti, Sanjeev Jha, Kuldeep Kumar and Ajay Dutt – had been contacted by BJP leaders and offered Rs 20 crore to join their party. The MLAs also claimed that they were offered Rs 25 crore if they brought another MLA along with them.
BJP, meanwhile, rubbished the allegations and asked for proof that BJP had contacted the MLAs. When asked, AAP leaders said that they would share the proof at the “right time”.
AAP had won landslide majorities in Delhi in the 2020 and 2015 Assembly polls.
While it had 67 MLAs in 2015, the number went down slightly to 62 in 2020.
“The AAP government in Delhi is very stable. Any party that wants to topple the government will have to get at least 36 MLAs in all for the effort to be worth it. Delhi Assembly has 70 members and one needs 36 members to form the government. Even if BJP manages to break away 5-6 MLAs, it will not make a difference. It will need at least 28 MLAs. There was never any danger of that happening,” said a party leader on condition of anonymity.