Six Rajasthan BJP MLAs who arrived in Somnath late on Saturday, left for an undisclosed location early on Sunday even as local BJP leaders said that they were not aware of the lawmakers’ movement.
The MLAs — Nirmal Kumawat, Gopichand Meena, Jabbar Singh Sankhla, Dharamveer Mochi, Gopal Lal Sharma and Gurudeep Singh Shahpini — reached Porbandar by a chartered flight from Jaipur on Saturday and drove to Somnath near Veraval in Gir Somnath district to have darshan at the Somnath temple.
They MLAs stayed at Sagar Darshan Atithigruh, a VVIP guesthouse run by Shree Somnath Trust (SST), the religious organisation that maintains and manages the temple.
“The MLAs had dinner at Sagar Darshan where they were put up and checked out Sunday morning,” said Vijaysinh Chavda, general manager of SST.
At present, BJP leaders are in control of SST and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party veteran LK Advani are among its members.
In Porbandar, Kumavat told media persons that the Congress government in Rajasthan was “harassing” Opposition MLAs and that they came to have darshan of Lord Shiva at Somnath to escape the alleged harassment. He added that they were to stay in Somnath for couple of days.
The Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan is in crisis after rebellion by Sachin Pilot who was the Deputy Chief Minister as well as president of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee.
Pilot, who claims support of 17 MLAs was removed from the twin positions even as Chief Minister Gehlot maintains that he enjoys majority support in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly. The Opposition BJP has 71 MLAs.
Kumawat alleged that the Congress government was falsely implicating Opposition MLAs in criminal cases and was “trying to pressurise them to vote for Congress” when a floor test is conducted. Rajasthan Assembly session is scheduled to begin on August 14.
However, local BJP leaders said that they didn’t know the whereabouts of the six MLAs. “My duty was to receive them at Somnath temple. We did accordingly and after they had their dinner, I left,” said Punit Sharma, general secretary of Junagadh city unit of the BJP.
Former fisheries minister and sitting BJP MLA from Porbandar, Babu Bokhiria, also said that he wasn’t aware of the visiting MLAs’ travel plans.
“We received them at Porbandar airport and then saw them off for Somnath. In Somnath, Punit Sharma was to take care of them,” Bokhiria said.
The Porbandar MLA had on Saturday said that another batch of six MLAs from Rajasthan were to land in Porbandar on Sunday morning. But on Sunday, he said they didn’t land and that he didn’t have any further information on it.
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