Days after the MCD polls, which the AAP won, the party as well as the BJP made claims that their councillors were being lured with money.
Soon after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked AAP councillors to get ready to “expose BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’” — referring to allegations of the party trying to ‘buy’ leaders to topple elected governments — BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla alleged that AAP workers approached their councillors and were trying to buy them.
Dr Monika Pant, a newly-elected councillor from the BJP, Saturday alleged at a press conference with Poonawalla that she was approached by an AAP leader with offers to cross-vote in the MCD House. Later in the day, the party said Pant along with former Delhi BJP president and MLA Vijender Gupta met Anti-Corruption Branch chief Madhur Verma and filed a complaint against the AAP leader.
Meanwhile, AAP too made similar claims. Its MP Sanjay Singh alleged: “Our councillors received calls from Bharatiya ‘Khoka’ Party and they have been told by Delhi BJP state president Adesh Gupta that the BJP has a Rs 100 crore budget to buy councillors.”
Singh also alleged the BJP has started threatening AAP councillors besides luring them to switch parties: “The BJP is shamelessly making claims of putting its mayor in the MCD despite falling short of the majority by 30 seats.”
The AAP won 134 out of 250 seats while the BJP came second with 104.
The family of an AAP ward councillor also claimed they received calls from the BJP. Pintu Sharma, father of ward 88 councillor Dr Runakshi Sharma, alleged, “We received a call from one man. He said he wants to buy 10 councillors from the AAP and asked me to do it somehow. He offered me Rs 2 crore and when I refused, he went up to Rs 10 crore.”
On BJP’s complaint to the ACB, Singh said “we will discuss it in the party and decide the future course of action”.
On Pant’s allegations, the AAP said: “These allegations are completely false. We have full majority and do not need support from others.”
Hitting out at the AAP, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said Singh’s claims are “nothing but an eyewash to divert attention from the exposure by party councillor Monica Pant”. “They are so badly exposed that in the cases of our councillor and two Congress councillors, they could not come face the media and had to field MP Sanjay Singh to try and save face,” he said.
On Friday, two Congress councillors joined the AAP, but after protests erupted in Northeast Delhi over their decision, they made a quick beeline back to their party.