Congress to take MLAs to Mount Abu ahead of Rajya Sabha polls in attempt to prevent cross voting

Gandhinagar: Main opposition Congress party will take its MLAs to hill-station Mount Abu in neighboring Congress-ruled state Rajasthan ahead of voting for two Rajya Sabha seats scheduled to take place on July 5.

Deputy leader of legislative party Shailesh Parmar said, ‘there’s no sitting of assembly scheduled tomorrow and therefore Congress MLAs shall leave for Mount Abu where they shall participate in party’s meeting in connection with polling for Rajya Sabha election scheduled to take place a day after tomorrow. The MLAs will board a bus and travel to Mount Abu where meetings will be held. As the assembly session is underway, party MLAs are in Gandhinagar only. There’s no sitting of assembly later today. Mount Abu has been chosen as it is located nearby.’

Parmar said party will issue a whip to its all 71 MLAs to cast vote in favor of party candidates Gaurav Pandya and Chandrikaben Chudasama. He warned that MLAs defying party’s whip or staying absent in polling shall attract disqualification procedure.

It’s worth noting that in year 2017 Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat, the Congress party had sent its MLAs to then Congress ruled Karnataka State in order to prevent poaching or defection. As Rajasthan is nearby and ruled by Congress at present, the party decided to sent all MLAs to Mount Abu this time.

Polling for two seats of Rajya Sabha was declared in Gujarat after Amit Shah and Smriti Irani resigned as Rajya Sabha members following their election to Lok Sabha. As this is not regular election, the Election Commission of India has ordered separate polling for both seats. This has made BJP’s victory certain on both seats. Congress had filed plea in the Supreme Court seeking joint election of both seats which was rejected. While BJP has fielded union External Affairs minister S.Jaishankar and North Gujarat based Thakor community cadre of party Jugal Thakor (Lokhandwala), Congress has fielded Ahmed Patel loyalist Gaurav Pandya and woman candidate Chandrikaben Chudasama as candidates.

Congress has strength of 71 MLAs in the house. Congress fears cross voting by several MLAs including Alpesh Thakor and his aides Dhavalsinh Zala and Bharatsinh Thakor. There’s also a possibility that Thakor and aides may cast vote in favor of Congress to evade disqualification, as Congress candidates are anyway going to lose in overall number game.

Meanwhile BJP chief, union Home minister and Lok Sabha member from Gujarat, Amit Shah is in Gujarat for two days. He is likely to hold closed-door meetings at his residence in connection with Rajya Sabha polls. Shah regularly visits Jagannath Mandir to attend Mangala aarti on Rath Yatra morning. Rath Yatra is going to take place tomorrow. Shah is also going to inaugurate several development projects of Amdavad Municipal Corporation today.


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