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As Mann govt ‘firefights’ BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’, Cong claim: ‘Nine AAP MLAs in touch, may switch’

Referring to the "Operation Lotus", Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said it was a mere drama as AAP was fearing complete rebellion within its ranks as its MLAs were “not satisfied with the working of the government”.

Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring. (File)

Amid claims by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab that BJP was trying to topple the government by poaching at least 10 of its legislators, the Congress Thursday claimed that nine disgruntled MLAs of the ruling party were in touch with it. Referring to the “Operation Lotus”, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said it was a mere drama as AAP was fearing complete rebellion within its ranks as its MLAs were “not satisfied with the working of the government”.

“I want to tell another story. The story is that few days ago…a senior intelligence officer told another Punjab officer that your (AAP’s) nine persons who have come from other parties are in touch with Congress leaders and can go to Congress. Three persons are in touch with BJP. This means 12 people. And it is 100 per cent true. I feel those not happy with their (AAP government’s) working, are finding a way out,” Warring said addressing a a press conference here.

Flanked by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Partap Singh Bajwa, former deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and former cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Warring said AAP was worried that these party MLAs may shift loyalties ahead of elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. “That is why this drama of floor test (confidence motion) was scripted,” he added.

Warring said he would make public the name of nine AAP MLAs who got in touch with Congress high command. Asked if they were in touch with him, Warring said, “We will tell at an appropriate time”. Asked if there was an ‘Operation Panja’ instead of the ‘Operation Lotus’ at work, Warring said, “We cannot spend Rs 25 crore (for each MLA). We can win them over only by love.”

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Both Warring and Bajwa, who also addressed the press conference, said AAP was working as B-team of the BJP to weaken Congress.
Stating that he was leveling ‘direct allegation’, Bajwa said AAP was created as “B-team of RSS and BJP” to cut into secular vote bank of Congress and of late was working in that direction in poll bound Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

Bajwa alleged that Central agencies like Enforcement Directorate were being misused to target senior Congress leadership like Sonia Gandhi and others.

On the Assembly session called on September 27, Bajwa said apart from power and stubble burning, the discussions should also be held on long pending issues concerning Punjab, including Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal, Bargari, Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura incidents, state’s rights over Chandigarh, non-payment of compensation to the farmers who suffered losses due to pink bollworm attack on cotton crops, not compensating farmers as promised for going for direct seeding of rice, diversifying to grow moong crop and not holding special girdawri for losses incurred by paddy growers due to dwarfing disease.

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Bajwa said as responsible opposition, Congress always supported AAP government in Punjab against Centre’s anti-Punjab moves, but that did not mean that the party had given “a blank cheque” or “power of attorney” to the ruling outfit.

Pointing out that the FIR registered in connection with ‘Operation Lotus’ did not mention name of any BJP leader nor any phone number, Bajwa said, “How can we back these lies?”

First published on: 23-09-2022 at 07:43:51 am
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