Congress Councillors Moved Out of Gujarat Ahead of Panchayat Polls

Elections for heads of over 200 taluka and 31 district panchayats will be held on 19 and 20 June.

Published19 Jun 2018, 08:13 AM IST
India
2 min read

Ahead of elections for the heads of district and taluka panchayats, the Gujarat Congress has shifted its councillors out of the state, fearing “poaching” attempts by the ruling BJP, PTI reported on 19 June.

Elections for heads of over 200 taluka panchayats will be held on 20 June, and that of 31 district panchayats will be held on Wednesday.

A year after the Gujarat Congress packed away 44 Gujarat MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru, this time, the party has sent 34 panchayat members from Ahmedabad and Patan districts to cities in Rajasthan, The Indian Express reported.

Congress councillors of Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Patan district panchayats (all ruled by the Congress) have been shifted to hotels in Rajasthan and the Union Territory of Diu, PTI reported, citing party sources.

Reportedly, taluka panchayat members too have been kept together at various places in Gujarat, the report said. The elected representatives will return only on the day of polling.

The Gujarat panchayat elections are held after every 30 months.

“Need to Thwart BJP’s Strategy To Acquire Power Through Money”: Cong

The opposition party has also sent a letter to the state chief secretary JN Singh.

In view of the unfair means adopted by the ruling BJP to acquire power by hook or by crook, we urge you to deploy adequate police force during the polls. We also urge you to do videography of the elections on 19 and 20 June.
The Opposition party’s letter stated

Ahmedabad District Congress Committee (ADCC) chief Khodaji Thakor told The Indian Express (from an undisclosed location in Rajasthan) that fears of poaching by BJP using “saam, daam, dand, bhed (persuasion, bribe, punishment, threats)” has led to the move.

Gujarat Congress in-charge Rajiv Satav on Tuesday held a meeting with party observers to take a stock of the situation.

“This was necessary to thwart the BJP’s attempt to acquire power through money,” Manish Doshi, Congress spokesperson to PTI.

A majority of these local bodies are currently controlled by the Congress, including the incumbents in both posts.

During the 2017 Rajya Sabha election, though Congress’ Ahmed Patel won by a very thin margin, the close victory reportedly managed to create panic within the party ranks. Congress’ seat tally in the 34-member house was reduced after many defected and shifted loyalties from Congress to BJP, the report added.

Soon after, eight Congress MLAs were expelled for not voting for Patel in line with the party’s orders, the daily reported.

“Cong Not Able to Keep Its Own Flock Together”: BJP

According to The Indian Express, BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said, “The Congress is not able to keep its own flock together and hence they are levelling baseless allegations against the BJP.”

(With inputs from PTI and The Indian Express)

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