Former BJP MLA Yatin Oza, who is planning to join AAP, today claimed that BJP President Amit Shah and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had "struck a deal" to "polarise" voters in the Muslim-dominated northern belt ahead of Bihar polls, a charge that triggered a slugfest between AAP and BJP.
While the media head of BJP's Gujarat unit rejected the charge terming it as an "attempt to get attention of media", AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted "If it is true, it reveals real face of BJP-Modi-Shah".
In a letter to Kejriwal on July 4, Oza claimed that he was also present at the meeting which was held "in the wee hours at Shah's residence on September 15, 2015" and it was decided that "Owaisi will spew poisonous communal speech, the script of which shall be written by Amit Shah." However, he did not clarify whether the meeting was at Shah's Gujarat residence or in Delhi.
He further alleged that the recent statement by Owaisi to extend legal aid to suspected IS operatives held in Hyderabad also "appears to be part of the aforesaid strategy."
Reading out his letter to mediapersons, Oza, a lawyer at the Gujarat High Court, said "I was present in the said meeting. A detailed discussion took place and it was agreed that Owaisi shall field his candidates in Bihar, particularly in Muslim belt that was to go to polls on November 5 (last phase).
"It was decided in the meeting that Owaisi will vomit poisonous communal speech, the script of which shall be written by Amit Shah, which may have the potentiality to create communal divide in the society."
Dismissing Oza's claim as nothing but "an exercise to seek media attention", BJP's media convenor Harshad Patel said "Just like their leader Kejriwal, people who are either associated with AAP or wanting to join that party are known to do such drama. Allegations by Oza are nothing but an attempt to get attention of the media. Owaisi has already refuted Oza's claims."
Criticising Kejriwal, BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma in New Delhi said the Delhi Chief Minister was "notorious for practising petty politics based on lies and unfounded charges. It is his habit to level baseless allegations and run away when confronted with facts. He is spreading false and factually incorrect claims."
He also asked Kejriwal to give evidence of the purported meeting.
However, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said Oza's allegations have "established the popular belief that BJP and AIMIM are in cahoots, indulging in politics of hate to sow seeds of disharmony in society, creating rifts between communities to ensure political polarisation. These revelations are very serious in nature.
"The Aam Aadmi Party demands an immediate clarification from PM Narendra Modi, BJP and Amit Shah on this matter. BJP owes an honest explanation to the people of the country about these shocking charges," Singh said.
In the high-stake Bihar election, JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance secured 178 seats in the 243-member state Assembly whereas BJP-led NDA could bag only 58 seats.
AIMIM, which had contested in Seemanchal region in four districts of Araria, Purnea, Kishanganj, Katihar, drew a blank.