Days after the AAP accused the BJP of trying to topple its government in Punjab, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday said a special session of the state assembly will be called on September 22 to bring a confidence motion. The ruling party had recently claimed that at least 10 of its MLAs were approached by the BJP with an offer of Rs 25 crore to each of them in a bid to topple the six-month old government. With 92 MLAs, the AAP has an overwhelming majority in the 117-member Punjab Assembly, while Congress has 18, SAD three, BJP two, and BSP one. The assembly also has an an Independent member. “You must have heard how they tried to contact our MLAs and tried to offer money and other allurements in an attempt to topple the state government which was elected with a huge mandate,” Chief Minister Mann said in a video message in Punjabi on Monday. A few days ago, Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema had alleged that under the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’, some AAP legislators in the state had been approached by the people from the BJP. The senior AAP leader claimed that seven to 10 AAP MLAs have been approached with offers of money and ministerial positions. Mann said that people expressed faith in the AAP during the 2022 assembly polls after rejecting the opposition parties, which had a huge sum of money to induce people. Friends’ trust is such a thing that is priceless, he said, adding “we will maintain that trust”. AAP’s MLAs stand like a rock with the state and Punjabis, said Mann. “To show this confidence in a legal manner, we are calling a special session of the Vidhan Sabha on September 22. During the session, we will show how committed the elected MLAs are to realize the dream of turning Punjab into a vibrant state,” said Mann.
The Punjab Police on September 14 registered a case after the ruling AAP complained to the state DGP, alleging that the BJP tried to poach its MLAs. Cheema had met the state DGP along with party MLAs over the issue and demanded a thorough probe. A delegation of the Punjab BJP had last week demanded from Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit a probe into AAP’s “baseless” accusation that BJP tried to poach its MLAs. The delegation led by the state unit chief Ashwani Sharma had demanded a probe by a sitting judge of the high court during their meeting with the governor here. Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had last week also accused the BJP of attempting to buy 10 party MLAs in Punjab by offering them Rs 25 crore each. Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that the BJP was running “Operation Lotus” to buy MLAs in every state, either through money or the fear of agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate. “…They tried to buy our MLAs in Delhi and now in Punjab, but we exposed them (BJP),” Kejriwal had said. On September 1, the Delhi Assembly had passed the confidence motion tabled by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. After winning the confidence motion, Kejriwal had said he brought it only to prove to the country that the BJP cannot buy his MLAs and the saffron party’s ‘Operation Lotus’ had “failed” in Delhi.