MUMBAI: Maharashtra minister Jayant Patil has claimed that 14 to 15 BJP MLAs from the state are in touch with the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, but the ruling alliance is not willing to commit the mistake of "poaching" opposition leaders.
Patil's comment came in the wake of the Congress' allegation that the BJP was carrying out an "Operation Lotus" in MadhyaPradesh to bring down the Kamal Nath government in that state.
Patil, who is the Maharashtra NCP chief, also accused the BJP of being desperate for power.
"Fourteen to fifteen MLAs of the opposition party are in touch with us even today. We have to do their works as we share good relations with them (the MLAs concerned). We understand their mindset," Patil told reporters on Wednesday outside the state Legislature complex here.
"Yet, it is not right to poach legislators...We don't intend to make that mistake. Our focus is on ensuring our government sustains," he added.
The BJP emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra after the Assembly polls in October last year. But, it failed to form government after the Uddhav Thackeray- led Shiv Sena snapped ties with it over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post.
The Congress on Wednesday alleged "poaching" bid on its MLAs and allies by the opposition BJP in Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP, however, denied any move to topple the Kamal Nath government - which is surviving on support of over half a dozen independent, SP and BSP MLAs - and asked the ruling party to keep its own house in order.
Putting up a brave face amid the political turmoil, which comes just days ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls on March 26, Chief Minister Kamal Nath asserted that there was no threat to his government.