Shiv Sena MLA Harshvardhan Jadhav claimed that he was offered Rs 5 crore to join the BJP by a senior BJP minister in Maharashtra. The claim by the Kannad MLA has further worsened the already volatile ties between state's ruling Sena-BJP coalition.
"When I met BJP minister Chandrakant Patil at his official residence near Mantralaya late last month, he made me the offer," Jadhav told a Marathi news channel, according to PTI.
"Patil told me that the BJP was frustrated with the Shiv Sena due to their bickerings and was looking at getting rid of that party by increasing the number of BJP MLAs," Jadhav claimed.
The Shiv Sena MLA said he was told by the minister that the BJP is planning to give “every Sena MLA Rs 5 crore to quit that party and contest the bypoll as BJP nominee.”
"The minister made the same offer to me...I feel he gave this offer to all Sena MLAs," Jadhav said. "Patil told me that if I do not get elected, I will be fielded (by the BJP) for the legislative council polls," he added.
The BJP, with 122 MLAs, is the single largest party in the Maharashtra legislative assembly. Shiv Sena has 63 MLAs. Even since it decided to back the BJP, Shiv Sena has been routinely issuing threats to withdraw support.
Meanwhile, the BJP accused the Sena MLA of indulging in a farce and called the latest claims by the party MLA a “publicity stunt.”
"All these are baseless charges. BJP does not need to do such things...Compared to Jadhav, Patil enjoys the trust of people of Maharashtra," state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.
"What Jadhav has claimed is a nautanki (farce)," he said.
(With PTI inputs)