3 more Gujarat Cong MLAs abandon ship

Virendra Pandit Gandhinagar | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on July 27, 2017

Candidate from Gujarat: Union Minister Smriti Irani files her Rajya Sabha nomination in Gandhinagar, as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and BJP chief Amit Shah look on   -  PTI

Shankersinh Vaghela

Defection of Vaghela supporters puts Ahmed Patel’s RS chances in jeopardy

A day after three Gujarat Congress MLAs owing allegiance to estranged leader Shankersinh Vaghela quit the party, three more legislators resigned from the Grand Old Party on Friday.

Ramsinh Parmar, Chhana Chaudhary and Mansinh Chauhan quit the Congress on Friday, reducing its strength in the Assembly 49 MLAs, from 51 just a day ago.

The Congress has rushed its chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala to Gujarat to contain the damage and keep the party flock together. He paraded three tribal MLAs from South Gujarat — Punabhai Gamit, Mangal Gamit and Anand Chaudhri — and accused the BJP and Vaghela of attempting to bribe them.

“But the loyal Congress MLAs refused the allurement and chose to stay with the Congress,” Surjewala said. Chaudhri said the BJP was trying to gain an entry into the tribal areas through the “backdoor” as it could not win otherwise.

Surjewala accused the ruling party of “misusing the machinery” and “divide-and-rule” and urged the Election Commission to act against the BJP for this “horse-trading” ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls on August 8.

Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil accused the BJP of indulging in “low-level” politics. “Instead of offering succour to the flood-affected in North Gujarat, the BJP is indulging in horse-trading. This shows their last ditch effort to avoid defeat in the Assembly polls.”

The lone bright spot for the Congress was the progress achieved in getting rebel BJP legislator Nalin Kotadia to defect to the party. Kotadia, a supporter of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar reservation campaign, held meetings with Congress leaders on Friday

Meanwhile, BJP National President Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Congress turncoat Balwantsinh Rajput on Friday filed their nominations for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls. With the defections, the chances of Congress candidate Ahmed Patel, the veteran leader who is Political Secretary to party chief Sonia Gandhi, appears to dim.

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Published on July 27, 2017
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