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Ahead of MP Bypolls, Congress and BJP Horse-trade Accusations of ‘Luring’ MLAs With ‘Offers’

Ahead of the November 10 results of the bypolls held recently on 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling BJP and opposition Congress have accused each other of horse trading MLAs and claimed respective victories. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday alleged that MLAs of the BJP were receiving calls from state Congress chief Kamal Nath who is trying to lure them.

“The Congress and Kamal Nath are attempting unsuccessfully to contact and lure BJP MLAs. Nath is making calls to them. It was Nath who played the politics of horse trading and effected manipulations. Nath has muddied politics of Madhya Pradesh,” Chouhan told reporters. He was responding to a query on allegations raised by Nath on Friday that the BJP was again trying to lure away some legislators of the Congress.

By-elections were held on November 3 for the 28 constituencies, 25 of which fell vacant due to resignations by Congress MLAs who joined the BJP earlier this year while the rest three seats have been unrepresented due to demise of the sitting legislators. “…Whenever Congress resorts to this (horse-trading), it’s termed as management but when someone comes to us (join the BJP) on his own, then it is called a horse-trading,” Chouhan said.

Holding Nath responsible for “political corruption”, the senior BJP leader said MLAs of the BJP would not fall prey to the attempts being made by the Congress to lure them. “Our MLAs work for principles and ideology,” he said.

Chouhan further said Congress and Nath were rattled as they have sensed imminent defeat in the bypolls. On Friday, Nath issued a statement accusing the BJP of luring its MLAs with “offers”.

“The BJP is sensing a crushing defeat in the byelections. They are now resorting to horse trading (of MLAs). I have spoken with several MLAs of the Congress who informed me about the offers and allurements they were receiving from the BJP,” stated the former chief minister, who lost power in March this year after 22 MLAs of the Congress joined the BJP under former MP Jyotiraditya Scindia. In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the BJP currently has 107 members and required nine more MLAs to attain a simple majority, while the Congress’ tally stands at 87.

Among other members, the BSP has two legislators, while the SP has one member besides four Independents.

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