Delhi drama begins: Both AAP, BJP say their MCD councillors are being lured with money

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Days after MCD results, which AAP won with 134 out of 250 seats, the party as well as its opposition 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 Patra, a newly elected councillor from the BJP, alleged at a press conference with Poonawalla that she was approached by an AAP leader and offered money to leave the BJP and join AAP. The Delhi BJP unit will file a complaint with the anti-corruption branch at 4pm today, the party said.

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 BJP has Rs 100 crore budget to buy councillors.”

Three AAP councillors alleged at the press conference that they got a call from a person saying Delhi BJP president wants to talk. “They first offered Rs 2 crore and when I refused, they went up to Rs 10 crore,” claimed Pinto, father Dr Sonakshi, who won from ward 118.

While AAP has scored a win, it was a narrow one, and its first challenge will be keeping its flock intact.

To this end, sources in the party said it was planning to send some councillors to Punjab. “There was a plan to book a hotel and send our councillors to Punjab initially, but it has been put on hold. If the party notices any attempts by the BJP to buy its councillors, it may go ahead with the plan,” said a source.

Asked if AAP fears ‘Operation Lotus’, MLA Durgesh Pathak said at the press conference on Friday, “We have come across some attempts to buy councillors but the BJP itself has now accepted that they will sit in opposition. We need support of both BJP and Congress to make Delhi clean and we welcome any councillors who want to join AAP and work for MCD. We will ensure councillors get funds for developmental works in wards.”

Party sources also hinted that more councillors may join in the coming days. “The party is in contact with a good number of councillors from both the BJP and Congress. In the coming days, some more councillors from the opposition may join AAP,” said a source.

On Friday, two Congress councillors had joined the AAP, but after protests erupted in Northeast Delhi over their decision, they made a quick beeline back to their party.



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