Congress MLA alleges Sarma wants to bring down Jharkhand government
A Congress MLA from Jharkhand has now revealed that his colleagues jailed in Bengal over the seizure of cash worth lakhs have urged him to accompany them to Guwahati to meet Assam Chief Minister (CM) Himanta Biswa Sarma. According to reports, in exchange of bringing down the JMM-Congress government in the state, Sarma would have promised them a ministerial position and cash worth crore.
Why does this story matter?
The three MLAs were apprehended on Saturday night in Howrah district, along with a large amount of cash, and were questioned overnight. Congress has suspended all three of them after linking the cash to the BJP's "Operation Lotus," claiming that the MLAs were paid to bring down the state government. The ruling and Opposition parties initiated a blame game in response to the seizure.
Assam CM Sarma denies the charge
Kumar Jaimangal Singh, a lawmaker from Jharkhand's Bermo constituency, addressed the letter of complaint to Ranchi's Argora police station. However, Sarma, a major BJP leader in the northeast, disputed the charges and said even top Congress politicians are in contact with him, adding that he has no knowledge of why a report has been filed against him in this respect.
He assured me...Sarma is doing it: Singh wrote in complaint
According to Singh's accusation, the arrested Congress MLAs requested him to travel to Kolkata and depart for Guwahati with them. MLA Ansari informed him that he had also been offered Rs. 10 crore for each MLA, and the position of health minister in the new BJP government. "He assured me...Sarma is doing it with...blessings of the top shots in the BJP," Singh's complaint read.
Sarma's statement over the controversy
"Even topmost persons of Congress keep in touch with me. We don't talk about politics but being in a party for over 22 years, we keep in touch. I don't know why an FIR was filed on this," Sarma reportedly stated in his defense.
What is Operation Lotus?
The term "Operation Lotus" was coined in 2008 when the BJP was accused of inciting several opposition lawmakers to defect and join its ranks in order to ensure the stability of its Karnataka government under BS Yediyurappa. Since 2014, the term has gained currency after the BJP was successfully able to topple several opposition governments in states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, etc.
Game plan is what they did in Maharashtra: Jairam Ramesh
The JMM (30) and Congress (17) has 47 members in the 82-member Jharkhand Assembly, slightly above the majority, with assistance from others, whereas the main opposition party, BJP has 25 MLAs. "The game plan of 'Hum Do' in Delhi is to do in Jharkhand what they did in Maharashtra (where Congress and NCP were partners) by installing E-D duo (sic)," said Congress' Jairam Ramesh.
Corruption is on the rise in Jharkhand: BJP
However, AdityaSahu, General Secretary of the Jharkhand BJP, stated that the money recovered is evidence of JMM-Congress corruption. "Ever since they came to power, corruption is on the rise. They use public money for other purposes," he stated. Dilip Ghosh, a top West Bengal BJP politician, connected the Howrah incident to the corruption in Jharkhand. "Corrupt parties...are trying to escape...by opposing...investigating agencies," he stated.