After Shankersinh Vaghela, Gujarat Congress' chief whip exits with 2 MLAs

BJP President Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani will contest Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat BJP leader JP Nadda said on Wednesday

Earlier in the day, a Congress delegation led by senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad met the EC and submitted a memorandum stating that the ruling BJP in Gujarat was using high handed tactics and money and muscle power to wean away Congress MLAs ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8. The tally since Thursday is five. This will make sure that Amit Shah who is Number 2 in the Party until now will also be the Number 2 in the Government.

Rebel Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela claimed that he had no role to play in the exit of exit of half a dozen Congress party legislators during the last two days.

After seven sitting Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) left the Indian National Congress in Gujarat, the party today chose to fly down the remaining MLAs to Bangalore.

He said that when the MLAs were taken to a "safe place", the Bharatiya Janata Party started threatening their families.

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The setback for the Congress comes nearly a week after Vaghela left the party and also resigned as the Leader of Opposition. He said the BJP was acting in a "brazen manner". He refused other information, but sources confirmed these MLAs have been put up at Clarks Exotica, a plush spa and convention centre located at Hollywood junction at Devanhalli Road in Bengaluru.

He added that in the upcoming state elections, he will not fight from Congress. "Congress" original strength, before these resignations took shape, was 57.

"The BJP is also hoping that Vaghela's son and an MLA, Mahendrasinh Vaghela, Vaghela sympathiser Raghavji Patel will also vote in favour of BJP candidate Rajput", said a senior state Congress leader.

These leaders will be go back to Gujarat on the eve of August 8, when elections for three Rajya Sabha seats will be held. Besides its own legislators, the Congress hopes to get support from two NCP lawmakers. Bhupender Yadav, BJP general secretary in charge of Gujarat, said, "It is an internal fight of the Congress. People want to leave the Congress". Sana Bhai Choudhary gave me his resignation.

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However, more than increasing its tally in Rajya Sabha, the BJP leadership intends to block Ahmed Patel's entry into the parliament - consecutive fifth term (since 1993).

Later, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters that the BJP is engaged in horse-trading ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections.

"I think at least MLAs of Banaskantha district which is the worst affected by floods should not have gone on tour when people are facing hardships", he said.

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