Mumbai: BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar on Friday has asked the Congress and the NCP to prove the horse-trading charges they have levelled at the Bharatiya Janta Party within 48 hours, or apologise to the people of Maharashtra.
"Congress and NCP have made allegations of horse-trading against us, they should prove this charge within 48 hours or apologise to the people of Maharashtra," said Sudhir Mungantiwar.
Refuting the claim made by Congress of poaching its MLAs by BJP, Sudhir Mungantiwar said, "By saying that BJP is trying to buy their MLAs, Congress and NCP are only disrespecting their own MLAs and looking them with suspicion and also disrespecting people of Maharashtra. Congress should prove if any such poaching attempt has been made."
"BJP doesn't believe in bargaining of MLAs. The 'Mahayuti' (alliance) has got the mandate and we are trying to form the government of alliance in Maharashtra," said Mungantiwar.
"If they have received calls regarding it they should take out the call-records and prove their charge," said the BJP leader.
However, the BJP in Maharashtra on Friday strongly refuted allegations that it was engaging in horse-trading and offering money to MLAs of other parties to switch sides. State BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said such a practice is not part of the party's culture.
When contacted, Upadhye told PTI, "There is no question of the BJP going for horse-trading as it is not our culture." There have been allegations of BJP leaders, through intermediaries, making "offers" to newly-elected Congress MLAs to switch sides.
Upadhye termed such allegations as baseless. Commenting on Wadettiwar's allegation of party's Igatpuri (Nashik district) legislator being offered a hefty Rs 50 crore, Upadhye said it shows the frustration of the country's oldest party.
"The Congress some decades back had won more than 200 seats. In the last few elections, the party has not been able to perform well and this time it could not even win 50 seats. "It is their frustration that is pushing them to make baseless allegations," the BJP spokesman said.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar alleged that sums of "Rs 25 crore to Rs 50 crore" were being offered to MLAs to switch sides in Maharashtra. He claimed Congress MLAs, too, have been contacted over the phone with such offers.
The Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly said the Shiv Sena has claimed one of its MLAs was offered Rs 50 crore to switch sides. "Our MLAs are also being contacted. Attempts are being made to lure away MLAs with offers of Rs 25 to Rs 50 crore," he alleged while talking to reporters here. "We have told our MLAs to record such calls so that people of the state know about them," he said.
The Congress leader accused the BJP of taking politics to a new low. However, the BJP has denied allegations it was trying to wean away MLAs from other parties. Wadettiwar denied reports that Congress MLAs are being shifted to Jaipur. "Some (MLAs) may have gone to unwind after the hard work put in elections," he said.
Wadettiwar was speaking to reporters at his official residence here ahead of a meeting of MLAs later in the day. The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the October 21 Assembly polls winning 105 seats, and its ally Shiv Sena, distant second largest with 56 seats, have not staked claim to form government together or separately till now.
The two parties, which contested the election under the aegis of 'Mahayuti', are bickering over sharing chief ministerial post since October 24, when the poll results was out. The NCP and the Congress won 54 and 44 seats, respectively, in the election to the 288-member assembly where the majority mark is 145.