The issue of horse-trading has once again heated up in Rajasthan after a Congress legislator alleged that two Bharatiya Tribal Party MLAs took Rs 10 crore each to save the Congress government that faced a political crisis in July this year.
The BTP MLAs hit back, saying Malviya was ready to topple his own party’s government for Rs 33 crore.
Senior Congress leader Mahendrajit Malviya who is the MLA from Bagidora constituency made the remarks on November 25 while addressing an election meeting for the panchayat elections in Mundri panchayat in the tribal dominated Banswara district, 500 km south of Jaipur.
The MLA’s video clip of the meeting where he made the remarks has been shared on social media.
The BJP was quick to attack the CM. State BJP president Satish Poonia tweeted the video and said a senior Congress leader was openly making allegations against his own party. Poonia sought clarification from Gehlot. He also demanded that BTP give a clarification on the allegations against its MLAs.
Poonia took to Twitter to hit out at the Congress. Tagging chief minister Ashok Gehlot and the Congress party, he said, “Ashok Gehlot ji please throw light on this. The speaker (in the video) is a senior Congress leader and he is verifying the questions I had raised during the lockdown of MLAs"
In the video, Malviya says that the two BTP MLAs took Rs 5 crore each to give support to the Congress government during the Rajya Sabha elections and another Rs5 crore each during the political crisis when Congress leader Sachin Pilot raised a banner of revolt against the government of chief minister Ashok Gehlot in July.
Malviya, a strong tribal leader of the Congress, is said to be unhappy at being overlooked by Gehlot and not being given a cabinet birth. Malviya’s name was among the leaders who allegedly tried to overthrow the Gehlot government in July at the behest of the BJP.
The BTP MLAs said the allegations were baseless and hit back at Malviya.
Ramprasad Dindor, the BTP MLA from Sagwara constituency, said, “Malviya himself was willing to topple the state government after being offered Rs33 crore. We helped to save the Congress government. He is feeling upset because the government did not fall. We will file a defamation case against Malviya.”
Rajkumar Roat, the BTP MLA from the Chorasi constituency, said, “By making these allegations, Malviya is terming his own party corrupt. BTP offered conditional support to the government. The Congress is jittery because it is losing ground in tribal areas to the BTP.”
Before the Rajya Sabha election in the state in July, Congress had herded its 107 MLAs to a hotel to due to alleged poaching attempts by the BJP. Gehlot had accused the BJP of trying to topple his government.
The 13 independent MLAs, 2 BTP MLAs, 2 CPIM MLAs and 1 Rashtriya Lok Dal MLA had supported the Congress. At that time, BTP MLA Rajkumar Roat had shared a video in which he said he was being kept hostage by police in Jaipur and not allowed to go to his constituency.
Then in August, the BTP MLAs had again sided with the Gehlot government during a vote of confidence in the state assembly necessitated by Congress leader Sachin Pilot’s rebellion against CM Gehlot.