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Was approached with offer of Rs 25 crore to join BJP: AAP MLA Rituraj Jha

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NEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday accused the BJP of wanting to impose President's rule in Delhi by poaching its MLAs and breaking the party as its Kirari MLA Rituraj Jha claimed that he was offered Rs 25 crore to join the saffron party.

The BJP hit back and said that Jha, who represents the Kirari Assembly constituency, should disclose the name of the person offering bribes or be prepared to face legal action.

"The BJP wants to impose President's rule in Delhi by poaching the Aam Aadmi Party MLAs and breaking the AAP, and has sent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to jail," AAP leader Jasmine Shah said at a press conference.

The AAP MLA on Monday alleged in the Delhi Assembly that he was approached by the BJP to join them with an offer of Rs 25 crore to break away from the party and bring 10 MLAs along with him.

Speaking in the Delhi Assembly, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of "wanting to crush the Delhi government".

"Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is the only leader who has defeated Prime Minister Narendra Modi four times in Delhi -- 2013, 2015, 2020 Assembly elections and 2022 MCD polls. They have started a cheap trick once again," he said.

Jha said that he was approached with an offer to join the BJP on Sunday.

"Yesterday, I went to Bawana's Dariyapur to attend a wedding after the INDIA maharally. There were some people who were trying to approach me over phone for the last three to four days," Jha said.

"When I reached there at 9.15 pm, three-four people took me to one side and said 'see if you will not agree, you will not get anything. President's rule will be imposed. You bring 10 MLAs and we will give Rs 25 crore to each one of you. You will be made a minister in the BJP government'," he added.

Asserting the AAP MLAs will not leave the party, Jha escalating his attack on the BJP said that Operation Lotus has begun again.

"On Monday at 9:14 am, I was threatened on internet call, warning not to disclose last night's conversation to anyone," Jha said, adding that he has proof.

BJP MLA Vijender Gupta asked Jha whether he filed a police complaint after receiving a call for joining the saffron party.

"The AAP MLAs have alleged a dozen times before that money was offered to them. Saying anything using sanctity of the House is not done. How long will you speak lies?" he said.

AAP legislator Somnath Bharti, while speaking in the House, said it was duty of the Election Commission "to ensure free and fair elections but it kept mum even as the convener of a national party was sent to jail ahead of the Lok Sabha polls".

"A sitting chief minister was arrested on the statement of such a person who in his previous six statements said nothing against him. I will tonsure my head and go door to door telling people how (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and the BJP have murdered democracy if President's rule is imposed in Delhi," he said.

The AAP MLA charged that the BJP wanted Kejriwal to resign.

"But Kejriwal had already asked entire Delhi what should he do if the BJP got him arrested. Entire Delhi is saying that Kejriwal should not resign from the chief minister's post," Bharti said.

"If anyone can save democracy in the country, it is only Kejriwal. The BJP is ruining the country and destroying the democracy and the Constitution," he charged.

The AAP national convener, who was arrested on March 21 and subsequently remanded to the ED custody by a Delhi court, faces allegations of direct involvement in a conspiracy related to the formulation of the excise policy favouring specific individuals.

Kejriwal has been sent to judicial custody by the trial court till April 15.

The Delhi BJP said the AAP leaders were "giving frivolous statements" like Operation Lotus to divert attention of the general public and the media from Kejriwal's arrest.

"Either MLA Rituraj should disclose the name of the person offering bribes or be prepared to face legal action," they said.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

11 Days ago