Fearing poaching, Congress sends MLAs into hiding

  • Prithviraj Singh, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: May 07, 2016 21:24 IST
PDF members Sarwat Qarim Ansari (L) and Mantri Prasad Naithani (R) and Congress MLA Dinesh Agarwal (C) in Dehradun on Friday evening. (HT Photo)

Fearing poaching by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress sent its MLAs into hiding on Friday night ahead of the floor test on May 10.

Eight Congress legislators and two BSP MLAs, however, failed to reach the undisclosed location until Saturday afternoon.

The party managers’ decision was guided by reports of persistent attempts by BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya to reach out to the PDF and Congress legislators. Vijayvargiya, who is camping in the state, has been speaking to three Congress legislators who were absent from a meeting called by Harish Rawat, they said.

But, BJP sources said they are not confident of a major success as one of the three MLAs has joined his party colleagues in hiding at a hotel near Mussoorie.

The Congress MLA from Kumaon was reported to be still maintaining a distance with the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) and has not joined the group camping near Mussoorie.

Besides, two BSP MLAs have not gone by the Congress leadership’s request to remain with Congress legislators and have stayed away from the CLP camp despite being present in the meeting called by Rawat to discuss floor test strategy.

There are 24 legislators, including four independent members at the hotel, Congress leaders said, adding that they are in constant touch with the other party MLAs and they were with the CLP.

“Rumours about our MLAs and PDF going away from us are being constantly spread by the opposition but it’s baseless. Our MLAs are with us and PDF will Rawat,” state Congress chief Kishor Upadhyay said.

He said the party’s central leadership is in constant touch with state leaders and monitoring the situation closely.

The BJP is trying to engineer another defection in the CLP and lure PDF legislators by hook or by crook but their design will not succeed, said state Congress vice president Shankarchand Ramola.

“No Congress MLA will defect from the party irrespective of Vijayvargiya’s claims that Rawat’s support base will be reduced to a minority on May 10. Their earlier efforts to win away Congress as well as PDF MLAs have fallen flat and the same will happen in future too,” he said.

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