Dehradun/New Delhi: In a fresh trouble for Harish Rawat, just two days ahead of the floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly, a new purported sting video targeting the deposed chief minister has emerged on Sunday, prompting BJP to accuse him of trying to "buy" legislators.
The sting allegedly shows Congress MLA Madan Singh Bisht admitting to payment of Rs 25 lakh each to 12 legislators.
It has been done by a news channel that earlier released a video clip allegedly showing Rawat indulging in horse-trading.
In the latest video, Bisht is purportedly seen and heard talking with longtime colleague but now dissident MLA Harak Singh Rawat -- who is not visible in the clip -- about how he managed to extract money from Harish Rawat for the "poor MLAs".
Bisht is purported to have said in the video that Harish Rawat was giving the money he had earned from mining to his MLAs to keep his flock together.
As the political fight over the Uttarakhand crisis escalated, Rawat accused the NDA government and the BJP of indulging in "politics of blackmail" and creating "unrest" in the hill state. He also alleged that the Congress MLAs were being threatened and their phones tapped by central agencies.
"I charge the central government and the BJP that they are trying to create this politics of siege and unrest in this state. I have decided that after May 10th result, all these blackmailers who are blatantly trying to trap people by offering financial and other allurements, who are trying to blackmail the people, we will launch a fight against them under the leadership of Kishor Upadhyaya," Rawat said.
The Congress leader alleged that his phones and those of his relatives and aides were being tapped. "Central agencies are harassing Congress people through various ways," he alleged.
"Central agencies are openly being misused and not only my MLAs but political leaders are being threatened," he said.
"Our MLAs and leaders are getting threatening messages from conduits who are posing as relatives, well-wishers and acquaintances," Rawat told reporters in Dehradun.
"I am also being kept under surveillance as if I am an anti-national," he alleged.
Rawat had faced allegations of horse-trading earlier after a purported sting video allegedly showed him negotiating to bring back rebel legislators.
Meanwhile, taking potshots at Harish Rawat, the Bharatiya Janata Party today said he was power hungry and could go to any extent to remain in power.
BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari alleged that the video showed that Harish Rawat was "himself involved in horse-trading".
"Earlier also there was a sting and now also a new sting video has come out in which the MLA is himself saying that the chief minister is giving Rs 25-30 Lakh to his own MLAs to placate them," he claimed at a press conference in New Delhi.
He further said, "Can anything be more ridiculous and shameful than a former chief minister offering bribes to satisfy his own MLAs? This is murder of democracy,"
"Bribes are being given to MLAs to win their support in Uttarakhand. I call it a 'danavi khel' (diabolical game). This brokering of 'dev bhoomi' (gods' land) should be stopped immediately," Koshiyari added, as per PTI.
Koshiyari further asserted that BJP will form government in Uttarkhand after May 10, claiming that the new sting video showed that ousted chief minister Harish Rawat has lost the support of Congress MLAs and he was bound to lose the trust vote on Tuesday.
"If they think that by giving money, they will save the floor then they are wrong. On tenth, the majority will go against Congress and the new government will be formed by BJP," the BJP leader said.
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Anil Baluni asked for legal action against Rawat while party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya took a dig at Rawat and said he must have done something wrong so that his own MLAs are unhappy with him.
On the other hand, the Congress called the sting operations a "BJP conspiracy" to discredit Rawat and wrest control in the state.
"The BJP has been attempting to discredit Harish Rawat and this so-called sting video, and the earlier video as well, are part of their conspiracy," IANS quoted state Congress chief Kishore as saying.
He said the Congress is confident of proving the party government's majority in the assembly on Tuesday, as directed by the Supreme Court.
The Congress further attacked BJP alleging that the saffron party was hatching a conspiracy against Harish Rawat ahead of the trust vote. The party also wrote to Governor KK Paul, demanding that BJP leader and Uttarkhand incharge Kailash Vijayvargiya be kept away from the state till the trust vote takes place as he was "trying to vitiate the political atmosphere" in the state.
The Supreme Court had on Friday ordered a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly on May 10 when Harish Rawat will seek a vote of confidence.
The Harish Rawat government was dismissed by the Centre under Article 356 of the constitution on March 27 after nine Congress MLAs, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, revolted against Rawat.
The Supreme Court has fixed May 10 for Rawat to prove his majority in the Assembly.