Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia on Friday rejected allegations that his party is trying to poach Congress MLAs in the state and said the ‘political drama’ was the creation of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who had differences with his deputy Sachin Pilot.
“A political drama initiated by the chief minister is being held in the context of the Rajya Sabha elections. Baseless allegations are being levelled and legislators are being frightened in the name of the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Special Operations Group,” Mr Poonia told reporters.
“Evidences should be presented. It is enough of defamation and we will not listen to this again and again. We have legal options open,” he said.
The BJP leader said the Congress is battling an internal crisis and the chief minister “has differences” with his deputy Sachin Pilot.
Sachin Pilot’s entry to the state politics was with an ambition for the post of the chief minister and a large section of people in the state had voted for the Congress while considering him as the chief ministerial candidate, Mr Poonia said.
In Madhya Pradesh, he said Jyotiraditya Scindia had quit the Congress after being insulted by the party’s high command and there are over two dozens leaders in the state who have faced neglect.
Satish Poonia said the chief minister defamed the legislators by telling the “price of an MLA”. “He has released a political virus through his statements which is more dangerous than coronavirus for the politics of Rajasthan,” he said.
On fielding a second candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls despite having the numbers enough only for winning one seat, Mr Poonia asked “whether it was an exception”.
He said 51 first-priority votes will be given to Rajendra Gehlot and the remaining 24 will go to the second candidate.
Elections to three Rajya Sabha seats will be held on July 19 in the state for which the Congress has nominated KC Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi while the BJP has fielded Rajendra Gehlot and Onkar Singh Lakhawat.
In the assembly of 200, the Congress has 107 MLAs and has the support of independent MLAs and legislators of other parties like Rashtriya Lok Dal, CPI (M) and Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP).
The ruling Congress has more than enough majority to win two seats and the opposition BJP, which has 72 MLAs and support of three Rashtriya Loktantrik Party MLAS, has the numbers to comfortably win just one seat.
Ahead of the elections, the Congress and other MLAs who are supporting the party have been kept at a resort in Jaipur and allegations were levelled by the chief minister and other leaders that attempts were being made to poach the MLAs to influence the Rajya Sabha elections and to topple the state government like Madhya Pradesh.
Rajasthan Government’s chief whip Mahesh Joshi has also filed complaints to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police seeking action on the matter.