Delhi Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday claimed that he was "offered the CM's post" by the BJP and closure of all cases if he quit AAP and joined the saffron party, which hit back, accusing him of trying to deflect attention from the corruption charges. The startling claims of Sisodia came days after his house was raided by the CBI over allegations of corruption in the implementation of the Delhi excise policy, even as Northeast Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari asked the AAP leader to name the person who made these offers from the party.
Sisodia, who along with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is on a two-day visit to Gujarat to reach out to voters ahead of the assembly polls scheduled for later this year, also played the caste card. "I have received a message from the BJP — Leave AAP and join BJP. We will ensure that all cases by CBI and ED against you are shut.
"My reply to BJP — I am a descendant of Maharana Pratap and a Rajput. I am ready to get beheaded but can never bow down before conspirators and corrupt people. All the cases against me are false. Do whatever you want to do," he said in a tweet in Hindi. Later addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, Sisodia said he was surprised when someone came to him with a message that he has two offers from the BJP.
"The messenger said one was that all big cases registered against you by CBI-ED will be taken back. The other offer was that I break the party and they will make you chief minister," the AAP leader claimed. "I gave a clear political answer to them, saying Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is my political guru and I have learnt politics from him. I have not come into politics to be CM or PM," Sisodia said.
Launching a sharp counter-attack, BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia, at a press conference at its party headquarters in New Delhi, said Kejriwal is frustrated, and "accused no. 1 Manish Sisodia says he has got a message from the BJP". "I can only say, those whose intentions are faulty, and thinking is small, who can break them (jinki niyat khoti hai aur soch chhoti hai, unko koi kya todega)," Bhatia said in a mocking tone.
He also told reporters that these AAP leaders will "play victim cards and several other cards" now to deflect attention from the corruption charges. "Questions of corruption have been raised on Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy, but Delhi CM running away with goal posts," Bhatia added.
Tiwari tweeted in Hindi to raise questions about these claims: "Manish's phone was taken by CBI. That is what he said. On whose phone did he receive the message or call? Reveal that person's name and get his phone submitted to the CBI." He also took a dig using a Hindi idiom with a twist, saying Sisodia should reveal the name so that 'doodh ka doodh aur sharab ka sharab ho'. Other Aam Aadmi Party leaders, including Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj, also backed Sisodia but neither they nor the deputy chief minister disclosed the name of the person from the BJP who had approached him with such offers.
Claiming that BJP had offered Sisodia the Delhi CM post if he could bring an adequate number of MLAs along with him, the AAP accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP of trying to topple Kejriwal's government in the national capital, the way they did in Maharashtra but asserted that it was not a possibility since it was a hardcore honest party. AAP leader Atishi claimed that Sisodia had been approached by the "same person" from the BJP who had approached former TMC leaders Suvendu Adhikari and others in the Mamata Banerjee-led party to bring them into his party fold.
The BJP has also offered to declare Sisodia as the party's chief ministerial candidate in the next Delhi assembly elections if he joins the party, the AAP chief spokesperson Bharadwaj claimed. When asked to name the BJP leader who approached Sisodia with such offers, the AAP spokesperson said that his party will share "all these details when the time comes".
Meanwhile, Kejriwal attacked the Centre over a host of issues, including inflation and unemployment, and wondered how will the nation progress like this. "Who will people talk to about their issues when these people are playing 'CBI-ED' and are busy toppling governments," he said.
Sisodia is among 15 people and entities named in an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Delhi excise policy.