Fearing poaching by BJP, Congress shifts MLAs in Gujarat

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With the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is spreading its net far and wide for lawmakers ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections on June 19, the opposition Congress is relocating its MLAs in Gujarat from one resort to the other.

The grand old party on Wednesday (June 10) shifted 17 of its MLAs from a resort in Rajkot to a farmhouse near Gadhada town of Botad district, Times of India reported quoting a party leader.

Fearing poaching, the party had shifted its legislators to various resorts in Gujarat last week, dividing them in zone-wise groups. While some MLAs gathered in Rajkot in Saurashtra, few others were in Abu Road in Rajasthan.

"After meeting local leaders in Gadhada, the MLAs will proceed to Dhari town in Amreli district," Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani, who is also among these 17 MLAs from Saurashtra region, said.

Both Gadhada and Dhari assembly seats are empty at present after Congress's Pravin Maru and J V Kakadiya resigned as legislators soon after the Rajya Sabha polls were announced for the first time in March.

"When people were fighting the coronavirus pandemic, elected representative of Botad deserted its people either due to pressure or for some financial gains. Thus, we have decided to meet the people of this leaderless region and understand their problems. People will not forgive those who had disrespected the mandate," Dhanani was quoted by TOI as saying.

Congress's Tankara MLA Lalit Kagathara said, "Since Dhari legislator, too, had resigned in March, the sitting (Congress) MLAs will also visit that region to make people understand the game and teach a lesson to them (MLAs who have resigned) in the by-election."

As per the earlier schedule, election for four Rajya Sabha seats was supposed to be held on March 26. However, it was postponed for an indefinite period in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and subsequent imposition of the nationwide lockdown.

Till now, eight Congress MLAs have resigned, bringing their strength in the assembly to 65, a number not enough to win two Rajya Sabha seats on which they the party have fielded its two candidates.

In March, when Rajya Sabha polls were first announced, five opposition MLAs, including Maru and Kakadiya had resigned. The three more had resigned this month after fresh dates were announced.

Image Credit: The Hindu

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