Gujarat Congress’ flies its Gujarat MLAs to Bangalore
In the light of the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections the Gujarat Congress is under siege by the ruling-BJP which seems bent on getting Ahmed Patel defeated
After seven sitting Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) left the Indian National Congress in Gujarat, the party today decided to fly down the remaining MLAs to Bangalore. In a last ditch effort to prevent more legislators from defecting or resigning from the party in the State.
Moreover, they have accused BJP President Amit Shah of engineering defections by using ‘money and muscle power’.
All of these efforts are in view of the August 8, Rajya Sabha elections where Sonia Gandhi's chief political aid Ahmed Patel is up for re-election. ‘It is imperative to keep the rest of the flock together an away from allurements,” said the source.
The Congress MLAs are scheduled to fly by the 2345 hrs Indigo flight to Bangalore. Three MLAs, Balwantsinh Rajput, Tejashree Patel and P I Patel, quit on Thursday and joined the BJP, while three more submitted their resignations to Speaker Ramanlal Vohra on Friday, but have not yet joined the ruling party.
One more leader, CK Raolji, who is believed to be the closest to rebel leader Shankersinh Vaghela, was on his way to resign but turned back midway "for final negotiations”. According to party leaders, this does not mean that Raolji will not resign but is looking to renegotiate and then resign. While local Gujarati TV channels and the rest of the media have released reports of Raoji quitting.
In a statement signed by five MLAs and AICC Media In-charge Randeep Surjewala, who rushed to Ahmedabad from Delhi, the Congress said: "Hunger for power has made the rulers blind to the extent that Congress MLAs are being offered a bribe of crores of rupees, election ticket and other allurements.” He continued, "By misusing money power, muscle power and state power, MLAs are being asked to meet Amit Shah for changing their loyalty and vote by way of defections. This is disparaging to every constitutional norm, independence of the electoral process and majesty of democracy itself. All this is being done when Amit Shah himself is a Rajya Sabha candidate."
It is alleged that prominent Congress MLA Punabhai Gamit, a prominent tribal leader and a three-time legislator, was threatened and lured. "He was forcibly detained and an attempt was made to give a bribe of Rs 10 crore with allurement to meet Amit Shah," according to the statement which also has Gamit as a signatory. "Similar attempts to buy the loyalty of Congress MLAs Mangalbhai Gavit and Ishwarbhai Patel were made by the misuse of muscle power, money power and state power. It is the innate belief of these MLAs in Congress ideology and their impeccable integrity that deterred the conspirators and resulted into an absolute failure of their conspiracy to cause defections through allurements," the Congress said.
Besides Surjewala and senior Gujarat leader and Congress MLA from Abdasa Shaktisinh Gohil, the statement has been signed by legislators Punabhai Gamit, Mangalbhai Gavit, Ishwarbhai Patel and Anand Chaudhary.
(With inputs from United News Service)