The Congress party is holding a presser a Jaipur, claiming that some ‘viral’ audio recordings have been found which hint at ongoing ‘dealings’ to ‘buy’ MLAs. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told in a presser that Congress leader Bhanwar Lal and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, and another BJP leader Sanjay Jain were talking about bringing the Gehlot government down. On the basis of some ‘leaked’ and ‘viral’ audio clips, Surjewala claimed that Shekhawat was plotting with some Congress MLAs to get them to the BJP side.
Surjewala, while reading out an alleged transcript of the said conversation, also stated that Congress leader Bhanwar Lal was saying to Shekhawat that “they do not have the numbers, how long they can keep the MLAs in a hotel?” The part where Bhanwar Lal, as per Surjewala’s own claims, says that Gehlot does not have the numbers, can be heard from 8 minutes onwards in the live video of the presser shared by Congress’ official handle.
It is a troubling development because so far, Ashok Gehlot has been claiming that he has a firm majority and the Rajasthan government is stable despite Sachin Pilot’s ‘rebellion’.
Claiming that the so-called audio recordings ‘prove’ that the BJP is trying to buy their MLAs and thus bring an elected government down, Surjewala even claimed that there should be an SOG investigation against Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and he should be arrested for ‘trying to destabilise’ the Gehlot government. Surjewala also stated that the issue of ‘buying’ MLAs was going on for a month.
The audio recordings
A media report had claimed earlier that 3 audio recordings, allegedly phone conversations between Sanjay Jain and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat where they were reportedly claiming that the “deal” for 30 MLAs is already done and was finalised in Delhi.
Hindi daily Bhaskar, without confirming the authenticity or date of recording of the audios, stated that the said audios, two in Rajasthani and one in Hindi and English. In the said audios, one person is reportedly heard saying that soon the number of 30 MLAs to be ‘bought’ will be achieved. The conversation also hints that some of their associates are already in Delhi.
In the audio, the person claiming to be Ganjendra Singh says that no one can wait for 8-10 days. As soon as possible, people will come and join. The audio ‘talk’ also allegedly claims that the ‘associates’ in Delhi have already taken the first instalment of the money. The audio allegedly sounds like two leaders are planning on how to dismantle the Gehlot government and discussing about the dealings to ‘buy’ MLAs.
Congress leader Bhanwar Lal Sharma calls audios fake
Congress leader Bhanwar Lal Sharma has reportedly called the audios fake. He has stated that Ashok Gehlot is very stressed over the Pilot issue and the possibility of losing majority. Sharma stated that Gehlot’s OSD Lokesh Sharma has planted the audios to ‘create pressure on MLAs’.
Sachin Pilot and some of his supporters have also reportedly stated that the audio tapes are a fake stunt by the Congress.
Congress and its audio tape stunts
The ‘leaked audio’ is a trope that has been already tried by the Congress in Karnataka. In May 2018, the Congress had released another such tape claiming that some of its own MLAs are in talks with the BJP to sabotage government formation.
Congress MLA Shivram Hebbar had called the audio tapes fake. Interestingly, the number of audio tapes that time were also three. Congress had claimed that the audio tapes prove that the BJP is trying to ‘buy’ MLAs.