Mumbai, May 24 (IANS): For the second time in four months, senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh claimed that he was given an offer to join the BJP and help topple the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Deshmukh said that the purported proposal had come over two years ago, and also when he was jailed for alleged corruption charges.
"If I had accepted that offer, the MVA government would have fallen much before... But I declined it and had to face action by various central agencies," Deshmukh told a private Marathi news channel.
Earlier, in February also Deshmukh had made a similar claim while talking about the blatant misuse of central investigating agencies against the Opposition leaders.
MVA ally and Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said that he was aware of the developments claimed by Deshmukh and similar offers were made to other MVA leaders too, including himself, but they didn't succumb to the BJP's pressures.
Reacting sharply to the NCP leader's assertions, Maharashtra BJP President Chandrashekhar Bawankule dismissed Deshmukh's contentions outright and reminded him that he is "only out of jail on bail".
"He has been granted bail on health grounds by the court... The case hearings are still on and his utterances tantamount to a contempt of the court. If he continues making such statements, we shall complain to the court," warned Bawankule.
It may be recalled that Deshmukh was jailed in alleged corruption and money-laundering cases for nearly 13 months before he secured bail and walked out of the prison on December 28.