New Delhi: Two days ahead of the floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly, a video of a new sting operation allegedly showing a Congress legislator talking of bribe to at least a dozen party MLAs to keep them on ousted chief minister Harish Rawat's side has surfaced.
Harish Rawat. Pic/PTI
The sting allegedly shows Congress MLA Madan Singh Bisht admitting to payment of Rs.25 lakh each to 12 legislators. It has been done by a news channel that earlier released a video clip allegedly showing Rawat indulging in horse-trading.
In the latest video, Bisht is purportedly seen and heard talking with longtime colleague but now dissident MLA Harak Singh Rawat -- who is not visible in the clip -- about how he managed to extract money from Harish Rawat for the "poor MLAs". Taking potshots at Harish Rawat, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday said he was power hungry and could go to any extent to remain in power.
"Bribes are being given to MLAs to win their support in Uttarakhand. I call it a 'danavi khel' (diabolical game). This brokering of 'dev bhoomi' (gods' land) should be stopped immediately," BJP MP and former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said here. "Can anything be more ridiculous and shameful than a former chief minister offering bribes to satisfy his own MLAs? This is murder of democracy," Koshiyari said.
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Anil Baluni asked for legal action against Rawat while party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya took a dig at Rawat and said he must have done something wrong so that his own MLAs are unhappy with him. On the other hand, the Congress called the sting operations a "BJP conspiracy" to discredit Rawat and wrest control in the state.
"The BJP has been attempting to discredit Harish Rawat and this so-called sting video, and the earlier video as well, are part of their conspiracy," state Congress chief Kishore Upadhayay told IANS. He said the Congress is confident of proving the party government's majority in the assembly on Tuesday, as directed by the Supreme Court.
The Harish Rawat government was dismissed by the Centre under Article 356 of the constitution on March 27 after nine Congress MLAs, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, revolted against Rawat. The Supreme Court has fixed May 10 for Rawat to prove his majority in the assembly.