Sunday, October 2, 2022

RS polls: Around 40 Raj Cong MLAs, leave for Udaipur hotel

Around 40 Rajasthan Congress MLAs and some Independents left for a hotel in Udaipur as the party tries to keep its flock together before the June 10 Rajya Sabha elections.
The MLAs boarded a luxury bus from the chief minister’s residence in the Civil Lines and left for Udaipur around 5 pm. The bus was escorted by a police team.
The legislators and other leaders, who attended a state Congress workshop at a hotel in Jaipur, were called at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s residence for lunch.
After the lunch, the MLAs left for Udaipur in the bus.
The party has decided to shift the MLAs to Udaipur fearing poaching by the BJP, which apart from fielding one official candidate is backing media baron Subhash Chandra, who has filed nomination as an Independent.
The Congress has fielded three candidates.
This is not the first time when the ruling Congress in the state has shifted its legislators to a hotel.
The Congress decision reminds of two instances in 2020 when the party shifted its MLAs to a hotel ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls and during a political crisis triggered by the rebellion of party leader Sachin Pilot and 18 MLAs close to him.
The fresh move came after media baron Subhash Chandra, who is backed by the BJP, filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls.
Chandra is currently a member of the Upper House of Parliament from Haryana and his term is going to expire on August 1.
The filing of papers by him as an independent candidate had prompted Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to allege that the BJP wants to indulge in horse trading.
Gehlot made the statement as the ruling Congress with its 108 MLAs in the state Assembly is set to win two of the four seats.
After winning two seats, the Congress will have 26 surplus votes, 15 short of the required 41 to win the third seat, which makes the support of Independent MLAs crucial.
On the other hand, the BJP has 71 MLAs in the state Assembly and set to win one seat, after which it will be left with 30 surplus votes.
Gehlot and the Congress candidates on Tuesday held a meeting with 10 of 13 independent MLAs in Rajasthan.
Earlier on Wednesday, BJP leader Rajendra Rathore targeted CM Gehlot, saying the Congress leader himself is an expert in “elephant trading”, referring to the election symbol of the BSP, whose six MLAs had defected to the Congress in 2019.
The Bahujan Samaj Party also wrote to Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra and Assembly Speaker C P Joshi demanding that the six party MLAs who had defected to the Congress be barred from voting in the Rajya Sabha polls.
Reacting to this, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra had said the six MLAs had merged with the Congress and now they are party legislators.