Gandhinagar, March 14 : Fearing poaching attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as it has fielded the third candidate for the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls, the Congress, here on Saturday, decided to pack off it’s 20 legislators to a secluded place in Rajasthan.
According to sources, of the 20 Gujarat Congress MLAs, 15 have been flown and the rest will be driving to the resort.
The MLAs who boarded flights to Jaipur from Ahmedabad airport included Lakhabhai Bharwad (Viramgam), Poonam Parmar (Sojitra), Geni Ben Thakor (Vav), Chandanji Thakor (Siddhpur), Rithvik Makwana (Chotila), Chirag Kalariya (Jamjodhpur), Baldevji Thakor (Kalol), Nathabhai Patel (Dhanera), Himmatsinh Patel (Bapunagar), Indrajeet Thakor (Mahudha), Rajesh Gohil (Dhandhuka), Harshad Ribadiya (Visavadar), Ajitsinh Chauhan (Balasinor), and Kanti Parmar (Thasra).
“The BJP is known to resort to play the dirtiest game. So the legislators have been moved out of Gujarat to a secluded place in Rajasthan,” said C.J. Chavda, MLA from Gandhinagar North.
“We are flying to Jaipur where arrangements have been made for our stay,” said Harshad Ribadiya.
According to sources, another pack of legislators will be leaving Gujarat on Sunday and only 15-20 legislators will stay back to attend the budget session.
In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the BJP has 103 MLAs and the Congress 73.
As to win a Rajya Sabha candidate will need 37 votes, both the parties have adequate strength to win two seats each. The Congress expects Jignesh Mevani, the Independent MAL, to vote for it.
As three BJP members are retiring from the Upper House on April 9, it wanted to keep its tally intact and thus on Friday fielded Narhari Amin as the third candidate. It set the alarm bell in the Congress and hence the move to shift MLAs out of the state.
The BJP is banking on three votes from other parties, like the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) and one from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
To get the required 37 votes for Amin, the BJP will need support of 5 Congress MLAs, which it feels confident of acquiring.