Congress parades 44 MLAs in Bengaluru, launches attack on BJP

Gujarat MLAs restless in Bengaluru Resort D Shivkumar sent to'take care of them

BJP sources said it is not surprised by the Congress' nervousness about its legislators even after it has spirited them away to a safe place as most of its MLAs are Rajputs or Patels and are likely to follow Shankersinh Vaghela. "There are three other colleagues also - we are now 60", he said. Party sources said the EC complaint was essentially to lay ground for a full-fledged election petition in the event Ahmed Patel loses the poll.

Ironically, the ruling BJP in Gujarat has fielded Balwantsinh Rajput, who quit the Congress, to contest against Patel. The MLAs in the meet said that they have taken refuge in the Congress-led Karnataka as they feared for their lives in their state ahead of the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

Talking to mediapersons in Palanpur, Patel refuted Rupani's allegation that leaving Gujarat and moving to Bengaluru shows the "insensitive approach" of the Congress MLAs, at a time when the state is facing flood-like situation. However, speaking to the Hindu, the politicians refuted agency reports from last night that they were brought to the Eagleton Golf Resort at Bidadi against their wish. Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Bharat Solanki alleged that the BJP was playing "dirty politics".

Following the loss of 6 of its legislators, Congress high command has sent the remaining Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru to prevent the loss of any more legislators ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8. People like an IPS officer who was behind bars for 8-9 years in a fake encounter case are being used to kidnap our MLAs, offer money or threaten our legislators. A section of the Congress legislators claimed that seven MLAs decided against going to Bengaluru. "Democracy is under threat", Shaktisinh Gohil said.

Gohil further said that they have also managed to establish contact with seven Congress MLAs, who were reportedly inaccessible.

Meanwhile, Congress delegation which visited flood-affected region accused the saffron party of deliberately putting the onus on the opposition rather than providing relief.

Congress has re-nominated Patel, political secretary to party chief Sonia Gandhi, to the Upper House of Parliament from Gujarat. "I think the Congress MLAs who are fed up with the internal rift will break all barriers and join the BJP soon". In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the strength of the Congress has gone down to 51 from 57, following the resignations of six MLAs.

BJP National President Amit Shah and Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani are the two other candidates in the fray for four of the 11 Rajya Sabha seats from the state and for which poll is being held.

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