Congress being sceptical over the loyalty of its MLAs has been helping India’s tourism industry a lot. So much so that there is a possibility that it is being seen as an actual business opportunity by many. Such is the beauty of politics, and business.
In 2017, Congress had herded up its MLAs in Gujarat and had sent them all to the Karnataka’s famous Eagleton resort, a serene resort that has its own history of saving MLAs and forming governments at crucial times. The gorgeous images of the lush greenery and beautifully loaded buffet had done rounds on social media, doing an amazing level of publicity for the resort.
In 2017, As Gujarat struggled with floods, Congress MLAs in the state were loading their plates with delicacies at Karnataka’s Eagleton Golf Village. Apparently, it was all done to save Ahmed Patel’s Rajya Sabha seat.
This year too, similar tours and travel plans are already underway. As per reports, ahead of the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections, Congress in Gujarat had decided to pack its MLAs off to Mount Abu in Rajasthan. Fearing cross voting and ship jumping, the MLAs had been herded in a luxury bus and were sent to a resort, just ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls.
Congress is afraid that its MLAs might vote in favour of BJP’s candidates S Jaishankar and Juglalji Thakor in the July 5 RS polls. Congress has fielded Chandrika Chudasma and Gaurav Pandya and is mortally afraid of cross-voting as six MLAs have jumped ship to BJP since 2017.
As per reports, the sitting Congress MLAs were packed in a Luxury bus that started from Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani’s house. Congress has denied that the exercise is an act of fear. It has maintained that it is a 1-day ‘Shivir’ to “understand the technicalities of voting in the Rajya Sabha”.
The bus, however, never reached Mount Abu. No, Amit Shah did not hijack it. It was taken instead to another resort in Banaskantha. As per reports, 61 of the 71 Congress MLAs had been loaded sent in the luxury bus to the resort in Banaskantha.
Rajasthan Tourism, however, seems to have noticed the internet buzzing with the mentions of Mount Abu and has decided to use it to the maximum. Their official Twitter handle, which is quite active on the microblogging platform and is often praised for its brilliant photographs, has been on a Tweet spree flaunting the beauties and attractions around Mount Abu, one of the choicest tourist attractions of the state.
Studded with a colourful mixture of rustic abodes of tribal communities and posh houses of British style bungalows and royal holiday lodges, #MountAbu is no less than a wonder in this desert state. #MyRajasthan #PadharoMhareDesh pic.twitter.com/k0JDR2JD54
— Rajasthan Tourism (@my_rajasthan) July 4, 2019
Rajasthan Tourism has shared a series of Tweets listing Mount Abu’s Dilwara Jain Temple, Nakki Lake, Guru Shikhar, and Mount Abu’s wildlife sanctuary. Though it cannot be claimed that the sudden Tweet thread on Mount Abu was a bait to lure Congress MLAs packed in a luxury bus, the sheer coincidence is enough to make speculations. After all, Rajasthan is a Congress-ruled state now too, the party has no need to send the MLAs in a long drive all the way to Karnataka to find another congress ruled state.
Agitated Congress MLAs threatening to cross vote has actually been a target customer base for the tourism industry off late. Last year, after the Karnataka assembly elections failed to give any party a clear majority, poor Congress MLAs were herded up again. Kerala Tourism had sensed the business opportunity and had made an awesome sales pitch.
Sadly, the Tweet by Kerala Tourism was soon deleted for reasons unknown. Maybe Eagleton Resort took offence. After all, it has an old history of hosting potentially hostile MLAs. In 2006-07, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy had also kept his MLAs in the same resort to keep them from being poached by BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa. The MLAs did end up in Eagleton finally. There were even jokes on social media that the owner of the resort should meet the governor and stake a claim to form the next government in Karnataka.
Judging by the frequency with which the Congress-JDS alliance sees MLAs threatening defection and Yeddyurappa predicting a government fall, one can only conclude that the Eagleton provides top class services. Maybe that is why the MLAs are always trying to go back.
The frequency with which the Congress is making its MLAs travel in luxury buses and go to resorts to ‘save’ them from poaching, maybe they should make it a legitimate business and invite competitive bids from the best resorts in home and neighbouring states. It will help promote tourism and will eventually help the country’s economy.