BHOPAL: Opposition parties' 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 is 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 headlined - 'BJP eyeing 26 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 that it also shows that the BJP has become fearful of the outcome of a free and fair presidential election.
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.
"Apart from Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has used it to dislodge opposition governments in Karnataka, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh and most recently in Maharashtra. In all this, I hear alarm bells for democracy in India," he said.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has fielded Droupadi Murmu, a tribal leader from Odisha, as its candidate for the election to the post of president. The presidential polls will be held on July 18.