A day after Congress MLA from Damoh left the party to join BJP, MPCC president and former chief minister Kamal Nath alleged that the saffron party is out in the market making lucrative offers to the Congress legislators out of fear of losing the bypolls.
Launching a scathing attack on the ruling BJP, Nath on Monday said they are making offers to the Congress MLAs as they fear the results of the bypolls, which are scheduled to be declared on November 10.
"Several MLAs have personally called me up informing me about the offers made by the BJP to switch sides," claimed Nath.
Stating that he doesn’t believe in politics of saudebazi (bargaining), he said, "I will not indulge in this, let the BJP roam around in market making offers to the MLAs. Why is there panic, let’s wait for November 10." He said similar things happened in March this year and are getting repeated now.
The former Chhindwara MP further claimed that the BJP leaders are pressurising small government employees and officers to work in their favour. However, he cautioned, that the government staff needs to understand that things will change after November 10.
Commenting on the issue, Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that no one will stay back in the Congress party and the bypolls will only help opposition party find a Leader of Opposition.
Meanwhile, Nath on Monday wrote to the Election Commission of India complaining that sub-inspectors, thana in-charges and sub-divisional level officers were intimidating voters and Congress workers openly in the state. Naming several such officers in different constituencies, Nath alleged inaction from the poll body against them. He also claimed the state police officers were openly working in favour of the BJP and urged the ECI to ensure that free and fair polls are held in MP.
The former chief minister also said the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral office had not provided the list of voters who could cast postal ballots in the bypolls for 28 Assembly seats scheduled for November 3. In a four page letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Nath said a provision was put in place for the first time due to the COVID-19 outbreak to allow those above 80 years of age, the physically challenged and suspected coronavirus patients to cast votes through postal ballots.
"In Madhya Pradesh, about 1,50,000 applications were received, of which 37,000 were given permission to cast their votes through postal ballots. Unfortunately the CEC has not provided the list of such voters," he said in the letter. Nath claimed the CEO of MP had said "the CEC has not given them permission to give the list of voters who can cast their votes through postal ballots".
"Even election observers appointed by the CEC are unaware of the list of such voters," he said in the letter.
Speaking on the issue, MP joint chief electoral officer Mohit Bundas said, "We have sought directions from the Election Commission on the issue of providing a list of voters who have been given the permission to cast postal ballots due to the pandemic." In the letter, Nath also named officials who he alleged were working openly in favour of the ruling party.
He asked the CEC to intervene to ensure the bypolls are held in a free and fair manner.
With PTI inputs