The Congress party has decided to shift all its MLAs in Gujarat to Mount Abu for a ‘workshop’ to prevent cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha election due to be held on the 5th of July. The bypolls were necessitated after Smriti Irani and Amit Shah vacated their Rajya Sabha seats after they were elected from Amethi and Gandhinagar respectively.
Gujarat Congress taking all its MLAs to Mount Abu for two days workshop to avoid cross voting in forthcoming Rajya Sabha election.
— DP (@dpbhattaET) July 3, 2019
Congress’ nervousness is understandable as close Sonia-aide and senior leader of the party, Ahmed Patel, had only barely managed to scrape through in the Rajya Sabha elections in 2017. Even then, the MLAs were taken to the resort in Karnataka owned by Karnataka MLA DK Shivakumar to prevent them from defecting to the BJP and cross-voting.
While Rajya Sabha elections have traditionally been low-key affairs, Ahmed Patel’s election was marred by controversies and involved high voltage drama. With rampant defections already in Gujarat, the party’s move to shift its MLAs to Rajasthan appears to be a desperate move to keep its flock together.
Gujarat Congress has suffered a lot of defections in recent times. In March, Jamnagar Rural MLA, Vallabh Dharaviya, resigned from the party yesterday to join the BJP. Prior to him, Congress MLAs from Manvadar, Unjha and Halvad Dhrangadhra had resigned and joined the BJP. Jasdan MLA Kunvarji Bavaliya had resigned last year to join the BJP.
The Congress MLA from Gujarat, Dr Asha Patel, had resigned from her seat in Februrary ahead of the Lok Sabha elections citing infighting. She had even praised Narendra Modi while resigning. Alpesh Thakor, too, had stirred speculations about joining the BJP when he met the Gujarat Deputy CM post the Lok Sabha Election results and claimed that Congress was bound to lose since their leaders have ‘Chemical Locha’. He had also said that as many as 15 other Congress MLAs were contemplating resignation.