AAP parades MLAs, says none defected

Announcement in wake of reports that five MLAs had joined BJP

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: August 9, 2014 1:32:02 am
(From left) AAP MLAs Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Manish Sisodia (Patparganj) and Surinder Singh (Delhi Cantt) at Vidhan Sabha on Friday. (Amit  Mehra) (From left) AAP MLAs Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Manish Sisodia (Patparganj) and Surinder Singh (Delhi Cantt) at Vidhan Sabha on Friday. (Amit Mehra)

A day after reports emerged that AAP MLAs had walked out of the party to join the BJP, the AAP rubbished these claims. Parading five MLAs at the Delhi Assembly, the AAP, on Friday, admitted that they were approached by people with alleged BJP links and were offered money and government positions in exchange for defecting from the party.

“There are reports in the media about our MLAs joining the BJP. In this context, we thought we need to clarify what happened. Five of our MLAs were approached in the last two or three days — Girish Soni, Sanjeev, Manoj, Surinder and Raju Dhingan,” senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said.

Former Delhi Labour Minister and AAP MLA from Madipur, Girish Soni claimed he was offered money and a ministerial post to defect from the AAP.

“On August 5, I received a call in the evening from a man named Mahesh, who claimed he had links with senior BJP leaders. Although he insisted that he wanted to meet me, I told him we should talk on the phone first. He said he was in touch with four other AAP MLAs. He also said I will be given more than what was offered earlier — Rs 20 crore  — and I can even become a minister in their government in Delhi. I told him he was calling the wrong number. Yesterday, the man called again but I told him he was talking to the wrong person,” Soni said.

Other AAP MLAs had similar stories to share. “A person tried to contact me on August 1. He said he could make me meet senior BJP leaders. I was offered the position of a minister and the deputy chief minister. They were willing to give me up to Rs 50 crore for defecting,” Surinder Singh, AAP MLA from Delhi Cantt, said.

However, none of the MLAs could provide any evidence of conversations with purported BJP middlemen. “On earlier occasions when our MLAs had been approached, we had filed complaints with police but no action has been taken so far,” Sisodia said.

Denying these allegation, the BJP Delhi unit President Satish Upadhyay said, “I don’t know what kind of evidence they (the AAP) are providing — first, they provided evidence against six people, then it became 10 people, now it is one. If a party keeps changing its stand, I don’t think it is right to comment on it.”

“For the last month, these allegations are being made against us. Sting operations happen against their MLAs, it happens against Congress MLAs and the blame is put on the BJP. Both are involved in a conspiracy,” he said.

Mukesh Sharma, Delhi Congress spokesperson, reiterated his allegation that AAP and BJP were attempting to work out an alliance. “…A judicial inquiry is needed into horse-trading that is going on to arrive at the truth,” he said, adding that the “new allegations” prove that both parties were not“serious” about addressing the city’s problems.

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