BJP lures its six MLAs away, Congress flies Gujarat flock to Bengaluru

Congressmen formed a cordon around the MLAs as they stepped off a bus at the airport around 10.30 pm to board the 11.45 pm flight to Bengaluru. They are expected to be in Bengaluru for at least a week with Gujarat Congress unit president Bharatsinh Solanki.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad/new Delhi | Published:July 29, 2017 4:45 am
Congress, Congress Gujarat MLAs, Congress MLAs Bengaluru, Rajya Sabha Elections, BJP, India news, Indian Express Congress MLAs at airport; BJP plan is to prevent Ahmed Patel going to Rajya Sabha.

Fearing the worst after six Gujarat MLAs quit the party in the run-up to the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8, the Congress scrambled Friday night to keep its remaining flock intact by flying over 30 MLAs from Ahmedabad to party-ruled Bengaluru. The party made the move within hours of accusing the BJP of horse-trading, and use of “money, muscle and state power” to engineer defections.

Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia told reporters at Ahmedabad airport that it was a question of the security of MLAs and they were being taken to a safe place. Congressmen formed a cordon around the MLAs as they stepped off a bus at the airport around 10.30 pm to board the 11.45 pm flight to Bengaluru.

They are expected to be in Bengaluru for at least a week with Gujarat Congress unit president Bharatsinh Solanki. Congress leader Jagdish Thakor said the remaining Congress MLAs were also being flown out and that all would be present on the day of the Rajya Sabha elections. At least eight MLAs were said to have missed the flight to Bengaluru. Among them were Shankersinh Vaghela loyalists including his son and Bayad MLA Mahendrasinh Vaghela.

While BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani have been fielded by the BJP, the Congress has again fielded Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, for the third seat. The six resignations — three resigned Friday — may hold the key to the third seat.

Following the resignations, the strength of the Gujarat Assembly has come down to 176 and that of the Congress to 51. A candidate will require 44 votes to win given the current strength of the Assembly. The BJP has 121 MLAs in the House.

Congress sources said the party could seek disqualification of those who resign. AICC general secretary in charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot, rushed to Ahmedabad from Jaipur and Ahmed Patel too was camping there.

The Congress alleged that the BJP was “spending crores of rupees to buy” its MLAs, and there was information that at least two more MLAs could resign within the next 24 hours. Underlining that “resignation is also corruption”, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi alleged that MLAs may have been lured with money or promise of Assembly tickets which qualifies as gratification under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The BJP rejected the charges. Bhupender Yadav, BJP general secretary in charge of Gujarat, said, “It is an internal fight of the Congress. People want to leave the Congress. One section appears to be keen to defeat Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha elections.”

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress allegations were “not only false and laughable but shows its utter desperation”.

“A senior leader like Shankersinh Vaghela, former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition, has left the Congress. Three-time MLA and its chief whip Balwantsinh Rajput has left it too. Does the Congress want to suggest that it has given important positions to such leaders who could be purchased,” Prasad said.

Earlier in the day, the count of Congress MLAs dwindled further after Thasra MLA Ramsinh Parmar, Balasinor MLA Mansinh Chauhan and Vansda MLA Chhana Chaudhary submitted their resignations to Speaker Ramanlal Vora. They told reporters they would decide their future course of action in the next few days. The three MLAs who resigned Thursday — Tejashreeben Patel, Balwantsinh Rajput and Prahlad Patel — have already joined the BJP.

Parmar told reporters he was “fed up with factionalism” in the Congress which had prevented the growth of the party in Gujarat. While Chauhan declined comment, Chaudhary’s son Praveen said, “I met my father on Thursday afternoon but he did not disclose his plan. We came to know about his resignation today while watching the news on TV. I am not into politics and I don’t like politics. He did not turn up at night. We have been trying to reach him but he is not answering the phone. His personal assistant said he is safe, and there there is nothing to worry… I don’t know whether he will join the BJP or not, it is up to him.”

Meanwhile, Vyara Congress MLA Punabhai Gamit, speaking to reporters, alleged that he had been approached by Tapi district Superintendent of Police N K Amin with a monetary offer and an Assembly ticket on behalf of the BJP. Rejecting the allegations, Amin said: “I have been in Ahmedabad for the past 48 hours, so where is the question of meeting anyone in Tapi. Besides, I have never met this person. It is a blatant lie which I am going to challenge. He should either prove the allegation or be ready to face consequences.”

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  1. S
    Shafted mohammed
    Jul 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm
    You may do any nonsense but Ahmed Patel would loose.
    Reply
    1. V
      vatsal
      Jul 29, 2017 at 10:54 am
      "Aya Ram Gaya Ram" politics began in the country in 1967 onwards. Subsequent to 1962 debacle (China giving solid thrashing to so-called "Panchsheel" and "Hindi-Chini" bhai bhai initiatives, Congress had its numbers in Lok Sabha coonsiderably - though could form Government. Indira Gandhi took over after demise of Lal Bahadur Shastri and was suspicious of Congress Party High Command. The Organisation was not under her control. She initiated series of moves (backing a President candidate against Official candidate), initiated populist measures and made the Congress High Command irrelevant. Voters, rank file of Congress moved to Ms. Gandhi. Later MLAs/MPs office bearers of parties like PSp/SSP/Congress-Organisation (official AICC) even some from Communist parties mover to Congress. This was the beginning of jumping parties and Ms. Indira Gandhi was the author. It is getting improvised with time. Congress need not cry.
      Reply
      1. S
        Satendra
        Jul 29, 2017 at 9:33 am
        Only Reason Mahatma Gan dhi was killed because he liberated our country from British Raj for which many worked as spy, and that do not go well with them, because their huge earnings suddenly stopped.
        Reply
        1. S
          Shekhar
          Jul 29, 2017 at 9:29 am
          Mob Lynching of Democracy now after Lynching Dalits and Minorities.
          Reply
          1. J
            Junu
            Jul 30, 2017 at 3:21 am
            What is your opinion about killing of BJP workers in Kerala hindus in Bengal? Don't they have rights too ...for a change hindustanis are feeling safe proud to be Indians.
            Reply
          2. R
            RK
            Jul 29, 2017 at 9:20 am
            Now is the time to go for election reforms such as if any MLA / Corporator / MP who leave one particular party from where they got elected and jump over to other party, they should be made to resign and stand for reelection. It has become a NORM for these incompetent politicians to keep themselves in the power by hook or crook or by selling themselves for anything and fooling CITIZENS OF INDIA. BJP wants to act like a dictator.
            Reply
            1. M
              module
              Jul 29, 2017 at 9:15 am
              Congress leadership is very slow in action and not proactive. They thinks too much and do less. Where as Modi talks much, but also do much, takes prompt action. Congress still could not identified their honest, loyal and faithful workers. People those coming from other parties should not be given any portfolios or bigger post, unless they do something better for the party. It gives wrong signal to old honest workers
              Reply
              1. G
                G k
                Jul 29, 2017 at 9:11 am
                As you sow so you reap. What Congress has done in last 60 years is now biting them and they are crying foul. Ahmed Patel was master of this art. I will feel very happy if he taste defeat with muscle and money power he so balantly used in 10 years of UPA rule. A corrupt and power hungry politician to its core.
                Reply
                1. Y
                  Yashwant
                  Jul 29, 2017 at 9:39 am
                  Congress follow the rules in book that's why those who are now doing it left unharmed and sabotaging Democracy and Freedom in the country. If we Tadi Paar or Feku Type then imagine what would have happen, and in 3 years of rule country resemble a true image of Shamshaan/Khabrastan in waiting to swallow up the Democracy, Freedom, Development, Economy, Future and whatever left of Nation.
                  Reply
                2. S
                  stranger
                  Jul 29, 2017 at 8:50 am
                  ding and herding of mlas/mps should be made illegal, just ban meeting of more than 20mlas outside assembly/parliament, without permission and watch of EC . representation act should be changed now.
                  Reply
                  1. J
                    Jaggas
                    Jul 29, 2017 at 9:09 am
                    But make defection legal. Using CBI, IT, ED against opposition legal on pretext of political vendetta and witch hunt.
                    Reply
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