Gujarat Cong MLAs Will Return From Resort When “BJP Threats Stop”
Earlier six Congress MLAs quit the party ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls to be held in Gujarat on 8 August.
The Congress on Sunday paraded 44 of its legislators from Gujarat before the media in an effort to put to rest all speculation, including internal bickering in the party, as charged by BJP.
Speaking at a press conference, Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil asserted that there was no rift in the party and that the “BJP cannot divide” the party.
Forty four MLAs from the state were moved to a resort in Bengaluru to avoid being “poached”. Gohil, however, claimed that the MLAs had not been forced by the party and had moved on their own volition to get away from constant threats and bribes from the BJP.
Ask these MLAs the way they are threatened, they chose to stand by the party even when offered Rs 15 crore... We have the required numbers. There’s no need for us to stay here (Bengaluru) for even a minute if they say they won’t threaten.
The Congress MLAs from Gujarat were seen at Bengaluru's Eagleton resort on Saturday morning. There were also accusations that their phones had been confiscated in yet another episode of “resort politics” after Tamil Nadu earlier in 2017.
“Looking at the current situation (in Gujarat), where attempts are being made to lure our members, we are taking 44 of our MLAs to Bengaluru tonight,” said a senior party leader, requesting anonymity.
Amid rumours of the MLAs getting luxury treatment at the resort, the party has been criticised for the MLAs being absent from their constituencies when the state is inundated by floods.
Earlier on Friday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded that the Election Commission (EC) lodge a criminal case against the BJP for "poaching" its MLAs using "money and muscle" power, a charge denied by the saffron party.
In a major setback for the Opposition party in Gujarat, three more of its MLAs resigned on Friday, taking the number of legislators who quit the party ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls to six.
The Congress has re-nominated Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to party chief Sonia Gandhi, to the Upper House of Parliament from Gujarat.
In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the strength of the Congress has now gone down to 51 from 57. The desertions have cast a shadow on the fate of Patel in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.
(With inputs from PTI)
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