The Punjab Congress has claimed that 12 “restive” AAP legislators were contemplating quitting the party and the claim of “Operation Lotus” by them was just a distractionary tactic. Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, the chief of the grand old party’s state unit, claimed that there were “specific intelligence inputs” that these leaders were looking for political options.
The Congress twist has come as the Bhagwant Mann-led government seems to be on a collision course with the Punjab governor, who withdrew his assent to hold a special assembly session.
According to Warring, allegations of ‘Operation Lotus’ was an attempt to divert attention away from the growing internal rift within the AAP’s Punjab unit and to cover up its failure to fulfil pre-poll promises. He said while nine of the MLAs were in touch with the Congress, the remaining three were in touch with the BJP.
“We have reports that the intelligence inputs were shared by a central agency with its Punjab counterpart. This could have caused much embarrassment for the AAP ahead of polls in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. This is why it has come up with diversionary tactics to cover up dissent among its ranks,” Warring said at a press conference also addressed by opposition leader Partap Singh Bajwa.
Calling the special assembly session a violation by the AAP, Bajwa said it was just another ploy to borrow six more months before a non-confidence motion can be tabled in the House.
He challenged the AAP’s allegation that the Congress was colluding with the BJP, saying the AAP, in fact, was the “B Team” to weaken the Congress presence in the state. “Be it Goa, Maharashtra, northeast or other states, the BJP has engineered defections in our party. In the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the AAP is working on the BJP’s agenda to eat into the vote bank of the Congress,” Bajwa added.