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Three Gujarat Congress MLAs join BJP, one named RS candidate

Three Gujarat Congress MLAs join BJP, one named RS candidate”

"Congress has shifted 44 of its MLAs to Bengaluru", Gujarat Congress general secretary Nishit Vyas, who is with the legislators in Bengaluru, told PTI.

Fearing the worst after six Gujarat MLAs quit the party in the run-up to the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8, the Congress scrambled Friday night to keep its remaining flock intact by flying over 30 MLAs from Ahmedabad to party-ruled Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, Congress yesterday created an uproar in Parliament, alleging that Gujarat police had "abducted" its MLAs to help BJP candidates win Rajya Sabha polls.

Three Congress MLAs - P.I. Patel, Balwantsinh Rajput and Tejashree Patel - had also quit the party and joined the BJP.

While 30 MLAs have been put up at Eagleton Resort in Ramanagar's Bidadi area, 10 of them are staying at Golden Palm Hotel and Spa, located off Tumakuru Road and four other MLAs have been put up at Clark Exotica in Devanahalli, said a Congress source to TNM. However, it is reported that some MLAs have missed the flight. Congress, the main opposition party in the Gujarat Assembly, also has the support of two NCP legislators and the lone JD (U) MLA.

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The desertions have cast a shadow on the fate of Patel in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.

Sources said such being the case, the Congress high command was not in a position to take any risks in the matter. Ramsinh Parmar, seven-time MLA from Thasra constituency since 1990, submitted his letter of resignation to Speaker Ramanlal Vora. Raghavji Patel, a key Patel leader of Saurashtra, Vaghela's son Mahendrasinh, and Shankersinh Vaghela himself, who won't join the BJP but is expected to resign as an MLA, taking umbrage at the alleged statement issued against him by Congress leader and in-charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot. BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani are the other two party candidates.

The Congress has been jolted in Gujarat after at least six MLAs switched over to the saffron party, barely months before crucial assembly polls in the state, where it is out of to power for the past 22 years. "Here, the BJP requires 16 MLAs, hence the whole exercise of horse-trading", the Congress insider said.

Addressing the media at party's state headquarters, Mr. Surjewala said that Election Commission should take cognizance of the incidents and must register a criminal complaint.

The developments come a day after three legislators resigned from the party and joined the BJP.

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