The 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat who were kept in a luxurious hotel in Bengaluru after a series of deflection of party workers before the Rajya Sabha polls slated for August 8, returned back to the state on Monday only to be shifted to yet another resort near Ahmedabad.
The legislators who were staying in Eagleton Resort were given a ceremonial farewell — including traditional turban, garland and group photo shoot — late night left the hotel and landed in Ahmedabad airport around 5 AM today.
Soon as the flight touched down, all the Congress party men boarded two buses and were immediately rushed to Neejanand Resort in Gujarat’s Anand district, 80 km away from Ahmedabad.
Speaking to the media, senior Congress leader Ahmad Patel said that all the legislatures were together and were confident of victory in the poll.
Congress had moved all its MLAs to Bengaluru on July 29 alleging horse-trading by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in a desperate attempt to win the Rajya Sabha election.
Notably, 7 Congress members had quit within a span of seven days, a move that party believes was orchestrated by its former leader Shankersinh Vaghela. The three legislators close to Vaghela faction in Congress later joined BJP with unconditional support to the saffron party.
The senior leader of Gujarat Congress, Vaghela had allegedly quit after the party decided of not projecting him as a chief ministerial candidate. The defections were crucial blows to the chances of Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel getting of re-elected to the state Rajya Sabha.
Meanwhile, BJP has also fielded Balwantsinh Rajput, a close relative of Vaghela along with party president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani for the election.
With Amit Shah and Smriti Irani almost certain to retain their seats, a win against Ahmed Patel will be a major jolt to the Congress.
The magic number to win the seat is 45 votes with Congress relying on the outside support from JDU and NCP.
Speaking to the media, NCP leader Praful Patel said that the party was still in the process of deciding who to vote and will come to a conclusion after Core committee meeting.
“Not decided on any future course of action, with anybody. We will speak to our state Core committee, Chief Sharad Pawar and then take a decision on the same,” said Praful.
Even as Gujarat continues to reel with incessant rains with over than 200 lives lost in the various districts submerged under water, the three Rajya Sabha seats in the state seem to be the moot point for both Congress and BJP at the moment.