RS bypolls Fearing crossvoting Gujarat Congress shifts its MLAs to Mount Abu

first_imgpolitics Since the 2017 elections, at least six Congress MLAs have changed sides to join the BJP On a day when Rahul Gandhi officially resigned as Congress President and asked the party’s Working Committee to find his replacement, the Gujarat unit of the party was fighting its own battle as it struggled to keep its flock together. Fearing cross-voting in by-polls to the two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, the State Congress decided to move its MLAs to Mount Abu in Rajasthan to keep them away from the reach of the ruling BJP. The Congress camp in Gujarat is facing discontent among some of its MLAs who are likely to cross-vote in favour of BJP candidates — S Jaishankar and Jugalji Thakor. The Congress has fielded former MLA Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya.Since the 2017 elections, at least six Congress MLAs have changed sides to join the BJP. There is also a strong possibility that rebel Congress MLA and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and some of his supporting legislators may cross-vote in the Rajya Sabha polling scheduled for Friday. The two Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat were vacated by Union Ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani following their election to Lok Sabha from the Gandhinagar and Amethi constituencies, respectively. Congress MLAs led by the Leader of Opposition, Paresh Dhanani, boarded a private bus on Wednesday to travel towards Mount Abu. According to Congress leaders, all but rebel Congress MLAs were travelling together. Dhanani could not be reached for comments. ‘A precautionary move’The party officials termed this as a “precautionary move” to “thwart any attempt by the ruling BJP to influence the MLAs for cross-voting.”Last month, the Congress had directed its legislators to refrain from meeting Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel or other ministers even for matters related to their Assembly constituencies, till the Rajya Sabha by-polls are over. Earlier this week, the Congress issued a whip to all its legislators, including Alpesh Thakor, to vote in favour of the party’s two candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections. ‘Cong has slim chance’But if polling for both the seats are held separately , the Congress is set to lose both the seats for want of numbers as all MLAs would exercise their first preference votes twice.Therefore, the BJP, which has the numerical strength of 100 as against 71 of the Congress, is likely to win both seats.During the Rajya Sabha polls in August 2017, the Congress had moved 44 of its MLAs to a resort in Anand and then to Bengaluru to avoid horse trading and ensure a victory for Congress leader Ahmed Patel. COMMENT national politics July 03, 2019 Published on SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE COMMENTSlast_img

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