Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Maharashtra minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Friday stoutly rejected Congress allegations that the saffron outfit was trying to poach its MLAs and said the charge was in fact an insult to legislators of the opposition party.
He asked Congress and NCP leaders to produce proof that the BJP was trying to engage in horse-trading or tender apology.
"The Congress has insulted its own MLAs by falsely claiming the BJP was trying to wean away some of its legislators. Does it mean that the Congress has put up its MLAs for sale?" Mungantiwar asked while speaking to reporters.
Asked about the delay in government formation, he said his party would not discuss details of negotiations with the Sena before the media till a deal is sealed.
"The Congress and the NCP are spreading false information (related to poaching attempts). Either they should provide proof of our so called attempts to engineer defections or tender apology for insulting their own MLAs.
"Those making such claims should provide the call records of the BJP trying to poach their MLAs," said the state finance minister.
Leaders who make such allegations do not deserve to run political parties, he said, lashing out at the Congress and the NCP for leveling horse-trading charges against the BJP.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar alleged that sums of "Rs 25 crore to Rs 50 crore" were being offered to MLAs to switch sides.
He claimed Congress MLAs, too, have been contacted over the phone with such offers.
"Our MLAs are also being contacted. Attempts are being made to lure away MLAs with offers of Rs 25 crore to Rs 50 crore," Wadettiwar alleged while talking to reporters here.
"We have told our MLAs to record such calls so that people of the state know about them," Wadettiwar said.
The former state BJP president admitted that the Sena was adamant on its proposal of sharing the chief minister's post and equal distribution of portfolios, which is delay government formation.
"The Shiv Sena is adamant on their one proposal. I believe the mandate is for the BJP-Sena alliance and hence there will be some solution in coming days," he said.
Asked if Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will resign since his current term is getting over, Mungantiwar said, "There are 36 hours still left for him to tender his resignation on technical grounds.
"But it is the prerogative of the governor to decide what steps are to be taken regarding the current situation."
The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the October 21 Assembly polls winning 105 seats, and its ally Shiv Sena, with 56 seats, have not staked claim to form government together or separately till now.
The two parties are bickering over sharing chief ministerial post since October 24, when the poll results were declared.
The NCP and the Congress won 54 and 44 seats, respectively, in the election to the 288-member assembly where the majority mark is 145.
The term of the current assembly ends on November 9.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)