Resigning Gujarat MLAs can face action for defection: Congress

Resigning Gujarat MLAs can face action for defection: Congress

Former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela's son Mahendrasinh Vaghela, a Congress MLA in Gujarat, said senior party leader Ahmed Patel will face problems in getting re-elected in the August 8 Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat.

"Direction has been given to the state government to ensure proper security to all the MLAs and their family members", the source said.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani denied the Congress' claims.

The Congress ferried its MLAs to Bengaluru as six leaders resigned on Friday and defected to the BJP, reducing the count of Congress MLAs in the Gujarat Assembly to 51. To avoid poaching of its MLAs, the Congress has shifted its 44 MLAs from Gujarat to a private resort in Bengaluru.

"Looking at the current situation (in Gujarat), where attempts are being made to lure our members, we are taking 46 of our MLAs to Bengaluru", said a senior party leader told PTI, requesting anonymity.

However, two Congress MLAs have reportedly expressed their displeasure over the lawmakers being moved to Bengaluru at the time when flood crisis has deepened in Gujarat.

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On Thursday, three MLAs - Balwantsinh Rajput, Congress Chief Whip and MLA from Siddhpur, Tejashree Patel from Viramgam, and Vijapur legislator P.I. Patel submitted their resignations and joined the BJP.

Elections to the three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat are scheduled on August 8. The party hopes to capitalize the rift within an already tottering Congress which is trying to find its footing and launch its election campaign to unseat the long incumbent BJP. Azad said the police officer told the MLA that Congress had decided not to give him a ticket for the upcoming Assembly polls, offering Gamit a BJP ticket instead.

AICC media in-charge Randeep Surjewala, who rushed from Delhi to Ahmedabad for damage control, accused BJP's national president Amit Shah of utilising money and muscle power to destabilise his party in the State. At a meeting of party functionaries in the capital to discuss Rajya Sabha polls, Vaghela said, "All this is politics and I have nothing to do with it".

"The Parliamentary board has chose to field our party chief Amit Shah and Textile and I&B minister Smriti Irani for the Gujarat Rajya Sabha seats", he said. "It is the innate belief of these MLAs in Congress ideology and their impeccable integrity that deterred the conspirators and resulted into an absolute failure of their conspiracy to cause defections through allurements", the Congress said.

Meanwhile, BJP has denied all allegations levelled by the Congress party.

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