Chhattisgarh BJP afraid Congress may poach legislators

December 6th, 2008 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Dec 6 (IANS) Scared that the Congress may poach on its legislators ahead of the assembly election results, Chhattisgarh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked all its candidates to remain in touch with the state leaders from early Monday, when the votes will be counted. The state has 90 seats for which polling was held in two phases Nov 14 and Nov 20.

The BJP’s fear stems from the December 2003 episode when caretaker chief minister Ajit Jogi allegedly paid money to the BJP legislators to defect after the results of the state’s maiden assembly polls. The BJP won that election.

Later, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against Jogi under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“We don’t want to take any chances, we have information that two senior Congress leaders are trying to contact the BJP candidates,” a well-placed source in the BJP told IANS.

“The leaders are trying to pressurise our candidates to switch sides if the Congress gets close to winning a simple majority of 46,” a well-placed BJP source told IANS.

This is why the BJP has asked all its candidates to be in contact with the state party leadership right through Dec 8 and the formation of the new government, the source stated.

The elected legislators have been instructed to reach capital Raipur by Monday evening and stay only at three places where the party has made enough arrangements for their security.

Though they claim publicly that they will retain power, party strategists confide that it will be tough to get even two to three legislators to back the BJP if it fails to touch the magic figure.

So, like the opposition party, the BJP is trying to warm up to two of its rebel candidates and three disgruntled Congress contestants, who are in fray as independents. They are considered winnable candidates.

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