Amidst the denial of rebel Gujarat Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela that he has no role in the crisis of the state unit, a party delegation in Delhi approached the election commission on Saturday. The leaders complained that money and muscle power is in the full display in the state by the ruling BJP.
“It is painful to state that MLAs are being offered money and are lured of position of power to defect or resign from the Congress party,” said a memorandum by the Congress party given to the chief election officer.
Senior Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Vivek Tankha and Manish Tewari met with EC officials seeking action against the BJP.The leaders demanded to constitute a high powered committee to enquire into charges of money and muscle power and blatant use of government machinery. They also demanded transfer or direct suspension of concerned officials involved in the racket of helping the ruling party to engineer defections of the Congress MLAs.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel occupies one of three Gujarat Rajya Sabha seats for which Rajya Sabha polls are scheduled in August first week. BJP’s Smriti Irani and Amit Shah are contesting for the other two seats.
Ahmed Patel, considered to be party president Sonia Gandhi’s right-hand man, is a four-time Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament. However, his election looks threatened due to defection by the Congress members from the state unit.
Meanwhile, the rebel Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela feigned innocence over the exit of half a dozen party legislators during the last two days and claimed that he had no role to play in the development. “I am Congress mukt (free) and have freed the party of me. These MLAs indeed called me seeking my advice but I never told them to resign and join anywhere,” Vaghela, who quit as Leader of Opposition on July 21, said.