Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot clarified on Sunday that the notices sent to him and other leaders by Rajasthan Police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) are just meant to record their statements.

“The SOG has sent notices to chief minister, deputy chief minister, chief whip and others ministers and MLAs to record their statements after a complaint by the Congress about the BJP’s attempt to buy legislators. Some media outlets are presenting it in a different way which is not right,” Gehlot tweeted in Hindi.

 

The SOG had sent notices to these leaders seeking their time for recording statements in connection with the alleged attempts to topple Congress government in the state.

The notices stated that the SOG had urged the leaders to provide a suitable date and time for recording their respective statements.

The SOG had said on Saturday that it has arrested BJP members Bharat Malani and Ashok Singh for allegedly trying to topple the government by offering Rs 20-25 crore bribe each to unspecified legislators – a charge levelled by Gehlot. A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against the two under Indian Penal Code’s sections related to sedition and criminal conspiracy on Friday.

The complaint is based on a purported conservation between the two over the phone. According to the FIR, the attempts to topple the government started last month.

The Congress has 107 members in the 200-member House and also enjoys the support of 18 other lawmakers. The half-way mark in the assembly is 100; the BJP has 72 legislators.

Gehlot had on Saturday accused the BJP of trying to “buy legislators like goats” for the purpose amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He had further said at a virtual press conference that the BJP’s “brazen attempt” was thwarted by the Congress.

“The BJP needs to realise that it is not Madhya Pradesh. They have succeeded in MP, but we are alert now, they will not be able to destabilise the government here,” he had said.

Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia dismissed Gehlot’s allegations and said they were a result of infighting within the Congress. “This entire strategy has been worked out by the chief minister to prevent factionalism from coming out in the open.”

His reference was to the alleged uneasy relationship between Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot.

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