AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat Congress on Monday decided to shift all its MLAs to a resort at Abu Road in Sirohi district of neighbouring Rajasthan over fear of 'poaching' by the BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls. Elections for four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat are scheduled on June 19.
Last week, three Gujarat Congress MLAs resigned, reducing the party's strength in the 182-member state Assembly to 65. Fearing poaching, the party in the last couple of days shifted its legislators to various resorts in Gujarat, dividing them in zone-wise groups.
On Sunday night, the Congress shifted over 20 MLAs, mainly from North Gujarat region, to a resort in Sirohi. However, it has now decided to shift all its Gujarat MLAs to a resort at Abu Road in Sirohi, a party source said.
"The party has decided to move all the MLAs at one place, to the resort at Sirohi where they will stay until before the Rajya Sabha elections on June 19. Several MLAs have already reached the resort,while the remaining will reach by Monday evening," the source said.
With the reduced strength of 65, the Congress may find it difficult to win two Rajya Sabha seats for which it has fielded Bharatsinh Solanki and Shaktisinh Gohil. The Congress leaders have accused the ruling BJP of adopting means like "blackmailing, threatening or using money to poach its MLAs", a charge refuted by the ruling party.
The BJP, having 103 MLAs in the Assembly, has fielded Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara, and Narhari Amin for the election to four seats of the Rajya Sabha. Besides the BJP and Congress, the 182-member Assembly also comprises two MLAs of the Bharatiya Tribal Party, one MLA of the NCP and an Independent legislator, Jignesh Mevani.
The effective strength of the House, however, stands at 172 as of now as 10 seats are currently vacant - two due to court cases and the rest because of resignations.