TWO DAYS ahead of the by-elections in eight Assembly constituencies in Gujarat, the state Congress Sunday released a “sting operation” video where former party MLA Somabhai Patel is purportedly heard claiming that he and a few other former party legislators had received Rs 10 crore each from the BJP for resigning from their seats.
The BJP rejected the claim, saying it was intended to “create confusion” among the people ahead of the bypolls. Patel resigned in March, ahead of the election to four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat.
The 45-second video was released by the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) at a press conference in Ahmedabad’s
Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan. In the video, a man, purported to be former Congress leader and Limbdi constituency (Surendranagar district) legislator Patel, is seen talking to another person in Hindi.
Patel is purportedly heard claiming that the BJP had paid Rs 10 crore each to the seven Congress MLAs, who recently resigned from their seats, at the behest of CM Vijay Rupani, state BJP president CR Paatil and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The Indian Express could not independently verify the authenticity of the video clip.
Bypolls to eight Vidhan Sabha seats in Gujarat will be held on November 3 after eight Congress MLAs resigned from their posts earlier this year. The BJP has fielded five of them on the party’s ticket for the upcoming bypolls.
State BJP president CR Paatil denied the allegations at a press conference in Surat and said, “The Congress is trying to mislead the people. The fact that Amit Chavda had missed is that Somabhai resigned from the MLA post in March, whereas I took the responsibility as state BJP president in July. I have had no talks with Somabhai either on phone or personally.”
Somabhai could not be reached for a comment as his phone was switched off.