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Business News/ Politics / News/  ‘Operation Lotus floated to topple AAP govts..,’ Saurabh Bharadwaj slams BJP-led Centre
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‘Operation Lotus floated to topple AAP govts..,’ Saurabh Bharadwaj slams BJP-led Centre

Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj accused the BJP of offering money, security, and positions to AAP MLAs in Punjab to switch. He questioned the alignment of AAP legislators with the BJP in Punjab despite their expected fourth-place finish in the elections.

New Delhi: Delhi Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj addresses the media in New Delhi, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (PTI Photo) (PTI)Premium
New Delhi: Delhi Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj addresses the media in New Delhi, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (PTI Photo) (PTI)

Delhi Minister and AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj came down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday, alleging that the BJP had offered money, security and positions to AAP MLAs in Punjab to switch and join the BJP.

As reported by ANI, the AAP leader said, “I think what Arvind Kejriwal was saying earlier has turned out to be true today --- Operation Lotus has been floated just to break AAP and topple our governments in Delhi and Punjab," 

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Saurabh Bharadwaj questioned the alignment of AAP legislators from Punjab, Sushil Kumar Rinku, a Member of Parliament from Jalandhar, and Sheetal Angural, an MLA from Jalandhar West, with the BJP in Punjab's Jalandhar region, despite the BJP's anticipated fourth-place finish in the elections.

Bharadwaj said, “If the BJP is in such bad condition in Punjab, why did it poach our MP (Sushil Kumar Rinku) and MLA (Sheetal Angural) yesterday? Our MLAs from Punjab told us yesterday that several MLAs in the state were offered money to switch and join the BJP and that they were offered Y security and positions. They were also given the offer to contest Lok Sabha elections."\

Also Read: Delhi HC dismisses PIL to remove Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi CM, says, ‘no rule to remove him’

"Sushil Kumar Rinku's MP tenure has concluded. A model code of conduct is in place. He can do only one thing now, which is contest elections. You can ask anyone for an assessment. The BJP will come in fourth in Jalandhar, Punjab. They can do whatever they want, but they will be fourth. The question is, why would an MP join the BJP to come fourth?" said Bharadwaj.

The AAP leader also said that three AAP Punjab MLAs had held a press conference wherein it was discussed that a majority of AAP MLAs received phone calls where they were lured to join the BJP.

"I think what Arvind Kejriwal was saying earlier has turned out to be true today - Operation Lotus has been floated just to break AAP and topple our governments in Delhi and Punjab. But we are proud of our MLAs that they brought this to the knowledge of party leadership and held a press conference," said Bharadwaj.

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On Wednesday, two Aam Aadmi Party legislators representing Punjab, Sushil Kumar Rinku and Sheetal Angural, made the decision to join the BJP. They met with the BJP's national president, JP Nadda, at his residence shortly after joining the party at its headquarters. During the meeting, Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar was also present.

Rinku also alleged that no development work has been done in Punjab by the AAP government.

"No development work has been done in Punjab by the AAP government. On the other hand, I am impressed by the developmental work initiated by PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia also helped me a lot in the developmental work I have done in the Jalandhar constituency," Rinku said.

Rinku is joining the BJP despite being announced as the AAP candidate from Jalandhar. He won the Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency by a margin of 58,691 votes in a by-poll in 2023.

Also Read: Excise policy case: Delhi HC to pass order on CM Arvind Kejriwal's ‘delaying tactics’ plea at 4.30pm

On Tuesday, Ravneet Bittu, the Congress MP representing Ludhiana, made headlines by joining the BJP. Bittu, who is the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, assassinated in a 1995 suicide bombing in Chandigarh, has now aligned himself with the BJP.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Bittu secured victory over Simarjeet Singh Bains from the Lok Insaaf Party by a significant margin of 76,372 votes. Similarly, in 2014, he defeated Harvinder Singh Phoolka from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by 19,709 votes.

This development comes in the wake of the BJP's recent announcement to contest the upcoming Punjab elections independently, following its split with long-time ally Shiromani Akali Dal.

The term “Operation Lotus" refers to the BJP's strategy of enticing or luring MLAs and MPs from other political parties, often through offers of inducements or positions, intending to consolidate power, particularly in states where they lack a majority, ANI reported.

(With inputs from ANI)

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Published: 28 Mar 2024, 01:45 PM IST
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