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Congress alleges horse-trading by BJP as 6 MLAs desert party ahead of RS polls

There are 176 MLAs left in the Gujarat assembly after the six Congress lawmakers’ resignation, and Ahmed Patel will now need at least 45 votes of the 51 Congress MLAs.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2017 18:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Gujarat Congress,Congress,BJP
Gujarat Congress MLA Ramsinh Parmar submits his resignation to the assembly speaker on Friday. (Photo: ANI Twitter)

The Congress on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of horse-trading and misusing “money, muscle and state powers” after six of its legislators in Gujarat resigned ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha poll endangering its lone candidate Ahmed Patel’s chances.

Balwantsinh Rajput, Tejshree Patel, and Prahlad Patel resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP on Thursday.

On Friday, three more members of legislative assembly, including Manshin Chauhan, Channa Chaudhary, and Ramsinh Parmar, tendered their resignation to assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora.

Ahmed Patel, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, will now need at least 45 votes of the 51 Congress MLAs. There are 176 MLAs left in the Gujarat assembly after the six Congress lawmakers’ resignation.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said his party has asked the Election Commission of India to take a serious note of the development and file a criminal case. He called it a “murder of democracy” and “violation of constitutional law”.

The Congress, whose strength in the assembly was reduced to 51 from 57, also alleged three of its MLAs were contacted by a senior police officer, including others, who made an offer to the tune of Rs 5 to 10 crore to deflect.

“This election is being contested by BJP chief Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani. Out of hunger for power, though the BJP has the mandate only for two candidates, it has fielded three members this time around,” Surjewala told reporters.

The Congress rebel Rajput has filed his nomination as the third candidate of the saffron party.

Vyara MLA Puna Gamit, who was present at the press conference held by Surjewala along with other two MLAs, said he was approached by a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and offered money to resign. “He also said that he can make me talk to Amit Shah,” Gamit alleged.

Dang MLA Mangal Gavit also claimed “a man from the co-operative sector approached him on July 21-22” and offered that the BJP will give him “a ticket in the next assembly election and sponsor his poll expenditure”. Another MLA Anand Chaudhary also alleged the BJP tried to buy him out.

“First, they used IPS officers for fake encounters and now for threatening Congress MLAs,” senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said.

Gohil added the MLAs, who have joined the BJP, contacted him and said their freedom was taken away the moment they became the member of the saffron party.

The BJP dismissed all the allegations and blamed the defections on factionalism in the grand old party.

“The BJP is not giving them any post or doing a favour. The Congress MLAs are leaving the party in large number due to factionalism and the fact that the party, despite opposition from its members, has repeatedly chosen Ahmed Patel for RS,” deputy chief minister Nitin Patel said.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 18:41 IST