The Election Commission on Saturday sought a report from Gujarat government on Congress’ charges of effecting defection of its MLAs by the BJP, hours after the Congress petitioned EC demanding a probe by a high-powered panel over alleged misuse of authority by BJP. The poll watchdog also directed the Gujarat government to ensure security for all MLAs and their family members.
EC’s directive comes hours after the Congress leadership flew in 10 more MLAs from Gujarat to a resort in Bengaluru on Saturday in a bid to protect them from any form of horse trading ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for August 8. This after the party had to suffer the resignations of six of its MLAs, three of whom have joined the BJP. Over 30 MLAs of the Congress were rushed Friday night to Bengaluru, capital of a Congress-ruled state. The present toll of MLAs flocked to the resort stands at 44. Also Read: Gujarat: 10 more Congress MLAs reach Bengaluru resort as party tries to keep flock together
A delegation of top Congress leaders met Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti and demanded setting up of a high powered committee to enquire into charges of alleged electoral malpractices by the ruling party and to give a time-bound report. They also handed over a memorandum against use of money and muscle power by the ruling BJP state government in a bid to alter the Rajya Sabha poll result. “We demand to forthwith constitute a high powered committee of independent persons/officers to enquire into charges of money power, muscle power and blatant abuse of government machinery for purposes of engineering defection and resignations of INC MLAs.
“To direct the high powered committee to afford opportunity to all the MLAs who have been approached directly and indirectly with inducements of money and positions by the BJP, so that the allegations are duly recorded and substantiated for actions in accordance with law,” the memorandum said.
The Congress delegation comprised of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and party’s deputy leader Anand Sharma, Vivek K Tankha, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Manish Tewari.
Azad said the Centre and Gujarat government together are effecting defections of Congress MLAs in the wake of Rajya Sabha elections for the state and they are being threatened and lured through promises of tickets and money, and that the police and administration is being used for defections.