The Congress flew most of its MLAs in Gujarat from Ahmedabad to Bengaluru on Friday night after six of them quit the party ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha elections. At least 44 of the 51 Congress MLAs left for Bengaluru by 11.45 pm from Ahmedabad, and the others from South Gujarat and Saurashtra flew via Mumbai to the Congress-ruled Karnataka, reported The New Indian Express.
The Congress also accused Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah of using “money and muscle power” to lure its MLAs.
“To ensure that the BJP is not successful, 44 of us Congress MLAs are leaving from Gujarat for Bengaluru,” Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar said, according to India Today. “To hide their failure, the BJP is trying to make sure our MLAs resign by offering money and through police pressure.”
On Friday, the Congress had accused the BJP in Gujarat of horse trading ahead of the elections. “Crores of rupees have been spent in horse trading in Gujarat by the BJP,” senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said. Nine other Rajkot Congress MLAs also alleged that the BJP had offered them money to switch parties.
The Congress on Friday had also disrupted proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, claiming that one of its Gujarat MLAs, Punabhai Gamit, had been abducted by the state police to influence the upcoming elections. The Upper House had to be adjourned four times in quick succession because of the protests.
On Thursday, Congress Chief Whip in the Gujarat Assembly Balwantsinh Rajput and MLAs Dr Tejashree Patel and PI Patel had resigned from the party and joined the BJP. Rajput was fielded to contest against Congress’ strong nominee for the Rajya Sabha elections, Ahmed Patel. On Friday morning, Congress MLAs, Chhana Chaudhry, Mansinh Chauhan and Ramsinh Parmar resigned from the party.
Besides Rajput, the BJP fielded party chief Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani for the other two Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat.