AAP MP Bhagwant Mann claims senior BJP leader offered him money, Cabinet berth to join party

Aam Aadmi Party accuses BJP of poaching its MP, MLAs from Punjab

Chandigarh/New Delhi, December 5

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday accused the BJP of trying to poach its lawmakers from Punjab, including its state unit president Bhagwant Mann who claimed he was offered money and a place in the Union Cabinet if he joined the saffron party ahead of Assembly election.

There was no immediate reaction from the BJP to the allegations.

Without naming anyone, Mann, who is an MP from Sangrur, claimed that a senior BJP leader contacted him four days ago and asked him, “What would you take to join the BJP?”                  

The AAP leader claimed he was asked if needed money and was told that he would be made a Union Cabinet Minister if he joined the BJP.

“I told him (BJP leader) that I am on a mission not on commission,” Mann told reporters in Chandigarh.

Replying to a question on Punjab Congress chief Navjot Sidhu who joined a sit-in protest of Delhi guest teachers demanding regularisation of their jobs outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence, Mann said the AAP, after coming to power in the national capital, raised the salary of guest teachers to Rs 36,000.

He said the guest teachers were getting Rs 6,000 during the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government.

The AAP leader said the Delhi Vidhan Sabha had even passed a bill to regularise their services in 2017 but the Delhi Lieutenant Governor allegedly rejected it.

He said the AAP is making promises to the people of Punjab as it enjoys full statehood and whatever decision is taken by the Vidhan Sabha is final.

Mann further said that not many of the protesters who were joined by Sidhu were teachers.

Replying to a question, he said that the Charanjit Singh Channi government should give an account of its promises made to the people before 2017.

Replying to a question on rival parties targeting Kejriwal's visits to Punjab, Mann said that there is no ban on the AAP national convener from coming here. Actually, the rival parties are scared of Kejriwal, he claimed.

To a question on the chief ministerial face, Mann said that the AAP would announce its CM face for the Punjab Assembly polls before other political parties do.

AAP's Raghav Chadha takes swipe at BJP

Taking a swipe at the BJP, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha claimed that 25 Congress MLAs have been approaching his party to join it, but the AAP doesn’t want this “garbage” and said he is ready to share the list with the BJP if it wants to take them in its fold.

Chadha alleged that “top BJP leaders” from Delhi had approached the AAP leaders in Punjab over phone requesting them to join the saffron party and offering bribes.

Punjab Aam Aadmi Party president Bhagwant Mann. File photo

“Senior-most leaders of the BJP are making phone calls from Delhi to our party leaders, MP, MLAs in Punjab requesting them to join the BJP offering them to take any amount of money, land, property and position they want for coming to their party fold quitting the AAP,” Chadha alleged at a press conference in Delhi.

“Calls have been made to our MP Bhagwant Singh Mann directly from the office of Amit Shah (Union Home Minister),” he added.

Hitting out at the BJP, he said leaders and workers of AAP “can neither be intimidated nor purchased”.

He asked the BJP not to try to poach the AAP’s MLAs and MP from Punjab, saying that all the phone calls from saffron party leaders will now be recorded and made public.

“We will make the recorded conversation over the phone public. All the AAP leaders have been asked to record the phone calls from now on from the BJP leaders,” he said.

Chadha, co-convenor of the party’s political affairs in Punjab, refused to share the names of other AAP leaders and MLAs who were allegedly contacted by the saffron party leaders from Delhi in this connection.

“They have been contacted and asked to quote their price or tell whatever they want for quitting the AAP and joining the BJP,” he alleged.

Chadha claimed that as many as 25 Congress MLAs have been “constantly” approaching the AAP expressing their interest in joining the party.

“If you (BJP) want, we will share the list of these 25 MLAs who want to quit the Congress and join the AAP. We don’t want this garbage. If you are interested in them, you can take them in your party fold,” Chadha said.

AAP leaders would not quit their party to join the BJP at any cost, he asserted.

“Leave aside AAP MP and MLAs, even a worker of the party will not leave AAP to join the BJP no matter how much money you offer to them, or you put CBI, ED or police after them.  AAP leaders can neither be intimidated nor purchased,” he added. PTI

Tribune Shorts


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