AHMEDABAD: Ahead of the June 19 elections to four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, the opposition Congress on Tuesday shifted a batch of 20 MLAs to a five-star hotel in Ahmedabad from a resort in neighbouring Rajasthan, a party spokesperson said.
Other MLAs of the party from Saurashtra, central Gujarat and south Gujarat regions will reach Ahmedabad by Wednesday and could be shifted to a place near Gandhinagar, said state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.
The 20 MLAs shifted here from Rajasthan are from north Gujarat region.
Earlier this month, the Congress had divided 65 of its MLAs in four different groups as per their constituencies, and kept them at four different places in and outside Gujarat in a bid to save them from "poaching" attempts.
The 20 MLAs, including Ashwin Kotwal, Geniben Thakor, Kirit Patel, Lakha Bharwad and Baldevji Thakor among others, were shifted to a five-star hotel located near Ahmedabad airport on Tuesday afternoon, Doshi said.
"By tomorrow, other MLAs of Saurashtra, central Gujarat and south Gujarat regions will reach Ahmedabd.
It is possible that they all would be shifted to a place in Gandhinagar ahead of the polling date," he said.
State Congress president Amit Chavda has also confirmed that all the 65 MLAs of the party, including himself, will be sequestered at a place near Gandhinagar and will be given guidance about voting process through a mock poll exercise.
A total of eight MLAs of the Congress have resigned since March this year, bringing down the party's strength in the 182-member House to 65.
As per a standard formula, 35 votes are needed for victory of each candidate in the RS elections.
The Congress needs support of at least five more MLAs if it wants to get its two candidates--Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki--elected to the Upper House of parliament.
The BJP, which has 103 MLAs, has fielded Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin.
The ruling party will need votes of two more MLAs if it wants to get all the three candidates elected.
In this scenario, role of two MLAs of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), one legislator of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Independent Jignesh Mevani has become crucial.
The effective strength of the Assembly now stands at 172 due to resignations by eight MLAs of the Congress and two vacancies caused by court cases.