Congress Accuses BJP of Using 'Money, Muscle' Power to Engineer Defections

Amit Shah, Smriti Irani to contest Rajya Sabha polls

Amit Shah, Smriti Irani to contest Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat, says JP Nadda

The 44 Congress MLAs, who left for Bengaluru to ensure they don't succumb to police and political pressure to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said on Saturday that there is no pressure and that they are not scared of the saffron party.

Congress party was pushed on the back foot after six of its MLAs from Gujarat resigned and jumped ships.

Party sources said Bengaluru was chosen as Congress has its government in Karnataka.

Mahendrasinh also said that at least 10 more party MLAs could quit the party in the coming days.

For BJP Ahmed's defeat in the Rajya Sabha election would mean a big political victory not only in terms of a number, but also in terms of a statement. "The MLAs have taken a day's rest in the resort". But he later threatened that if Gujarat Congress in charge and ex-Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot does not withdraw "baseless" allegations against him, he wouldn't vote for Ahmed Patel.

Patel has been re-nominated to the Upper House by the Congress, which had 57 MLAs in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, of whom six have resigned. "It is the innate belief of these MLAs in Congress ideology and their impeccable integrity that deterred the conspirators and resulted into an absolute failure of their conspiracy to cause defections through allurements", the Congress said.

Gandhinagar: Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani files her nomination papers for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in Gandhinagar on July 28, 2017. "Here, the BJP requires 16 MLAs, hence the whole exercise of horse-trading", the Congress insider said. Three MLAs, Balwantsinh Rajput, Tejashree Patel and PI Patel, quit on Thursday and joined the BJP, while three more submitted their resignations to Speaker Ramanlal Vora on Friday but did not join the BJP till evening. The ex-chief minister however said that he would give up his membership of the house on 15 August, after the Rajya Sabha polls in the state are held. But, what made the party jittery is the fact that 11 of its MLAs had voted for NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind during the presidential election.

Another Congress MLA from Jamnagar, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, also indicated he would leave the party. He, however, said that the question of joining BJP does not arise at this point. As such, Patel enjoys a clout within the Congress leadership that is matched by no other party leader - with the exception of Sonia and her son, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

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