14 Gujarat Cong MLAs reach Raj to escape cross-voting in RS polls

Jaipur, March 14 (IANS) A total of 14 Gujarat Congress MLAs reached Jaipur on Saturday via an IndiGo flight from Ahmedabad, while five MLAs are on their way via road to stave off the challenge of cross-voting looming large on the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.

The 14 MLAs are camping at the Shiv Vilas Hotel situated at Delhi Road. They are: Lakhabhai Bharwad, Poonam Parmar, Geni Ben Thakor, Chandanji Thakor, Rithvik Makwana, Chirag Kalariya, Baldevji Thakor, Nathabhai Patel, Himmatsinh Patel, Indrajeet Thakor, Rajesh Gohil, Ajitsinh Chauhan, Harshad Ribadiya and Pradyuman Singh Jadeja.

Speaking to the media, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that there is a lot of mental pressure on these MLAs as the BJP is using money and muscle power to intimidate them ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled for March 26.

Out of the four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, three are currently held by the BJP while the Congress holds one seat.

“It is a reflection of how the BJP functions, forcing MLAs from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and now Gujarat to come and camp here. There is no democracy left in the nation. I had said earlier too that horse-trading is being done shamelessly. The MLAs need not have come here but for the environment created by the BJP. Look at the Madhya Pradesh MLAs who are locked up in Bengaluru,” Gehlot said.

When asked if horse-trading is been done, the Chief Minister said, “This practice started right from Karnataka and is now continuing in Madhya Pradesh. Do you know why the Gujarat MLAs came here? There is so much pressure on them mentally because of the lure of power and money. They are being intimidated.”

Sources in the Congress said that Gehlot had a long discussion with veteran party leader Ahmed Patel over the Rajya Sabha polls and after the discussion, the Gujarat MLAs were sent to Jaipur from Ahmedabad.

Presently, the Rajasthan government is also hosting a host of MLAs from Madhya Pradesh in Jaipur as a political crisis is looming large over the Kamal Nath-led 15-month old MP government after party strongman Jyotiraditya Scindia jumped ship to the BJP earlier in the week.

As many as 22 MLAs, believed to be Scindia loyalists, have also resigned from the party, sinking the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh into a deep crisis.

The Madhya Pradesh MLAs camping here are likely to depart from Jaipur on Sunday, sources said.

Earlier, the Gehlot government had also hosted Maharashtra Congress MLAs, helping the party form the government in alliance with Shiv sena and NCP.

–IANS
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