Panaji, June 9 (IANS) Goa Congress President Girish Chodankar on Sunday alleged that his party was unable to stop its MLAs from being poached because of a three-tier package offer from the BJP under which the biggest payout to a defecting MLA was Rs 60 crore.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Chodankar claimed that he had some of the offers made by senior BJP leaders to Congress MLAs on tape and would reveal the audio conversations at the “right time”.
“I said that I cannot give a guarantee of who’s going to leave the Congress. The BJP has started a package deal for MLAs. Many MLAs, including those of our party, are being approached,” Chodankar told reporters.
According to the Congress leader, a legislator had been offered Rs 40 crore to quit the Congress, get re-elected on a BJP ticket and not demand a ministership, with an additional Rs 5 crore for his workers and election expenses and chairmanship of a state government corporation.
Some MLAs are being offered the lure of ministerships, along with Rs 40 crore and Rs 5 crore for party workers and election expenses, Chodankar alleged.
“There is a third package too. It is a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), which was earlier started for government employees. The BJP is now offering it to MLAs as well. They are offering Rs 60 crore to some MLAs, on the promise that the legislator will quit politics altogether,” Chodankar alleged.
“We have some of the offers made to our MLAs on tape, which we will release at the right time,” he said.
The Congress state chief’s comment came two days after he said, that his party was unable to stop its MLAs from quitting and joining BJP, because large cash incentives were being offered by the ruling party.
“I hope that our MLAs don’t fall for this temptation. We may not be able to hold them back because of the size of the incentive by the BJP. This is a collective ailment. If I do not acknowledge the illness, one cannot cure it,” Chodankar said.
Three Congress MLAs have joined the BJP over the last two years. These are Subhash Shirodkar, Dayanand Sopte and Vishwajit Rane, who is now the Health Minister in the Pramod Sawant-led Goa Cabinet.
The BJP in March this year also engineered a split in the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and inducted two out of the party’s three MLAs into its fold.