Opposition parties’ joint Presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha on Thursday accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in horse trading in the election for the country’s highest constitutional post and sought a probe into it. He claimed that the saffron party was carrying out ‘Operation Kamal’, under which it was allegedly offering a “huge sum of money to non-BJP MLAs” to ensure its presidential candidate’s win as it is afraid of the outcome of a free and fair election.
Kamal or lotus is the poll symbol of the BJP. In recent years, the opposition parties have been accusing the BJP of carrying out ‘Operation Kamal’ to gain power in the states where it does not rule. The opposition uses the term to describe the saffron party’s alleged attempts to engineer defection for forming a government.
Talking to reporters after meeting the Congress MLAs, Sinha said, “I read with deep distress this morning the news published in a leading newspaper in Madhya Pradesh with the headline – ‘BJP eyeing 28 tribal MLAs of Congress, cross voting preparation’.”
“I have also heard from credible sources that huge sums of money are being offered to non-BJP MLAs to vote for the party’s candidate in the presidential elections,” he alleged. This clearly means that ‘Operation Kamal’ is now being put into effect even in the election to the highest office of the Republic, Sinha said, adding it also shows the BJP has become fearful of the outcome of a free and fair presidential election. “When I came here I came across clear evidence. (Congress tribal MLA and former MP Minister) Umang Singhar, in a meeting, in clear words said about pressure being mounted on him. What type of politics is in play in the country.. forget the presidential election,” he asked.The former Union minister said the election on July 18 will decide the future of the country.
Since the beginning they have been saying Yashwant Sinha is a defeated candidate. They are saying we are winning the presidential election with a huge margin. So why are you worried? You are keeping an eye on 28 Congress tribal MLA and saying you are going to indulge in cross-voting. So the point I am making is this – the president election taking place is not merely a presidential election, it is for the country’s future, he added. He urged the Election Commission and also the Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha, who is the returning officer for the presidential election, to probe the reported corruption practices of the ruling party.
“The right name for ‘Operation Kamal’ is ‘Operation Mal’ (dirt), because it has become synonymous with dirty political corruption by the ruling party. It has been used to create defections in opposition parties and even to topple state governments run by the opposition parties,” the former Union finance minister said.
With inputs from News18