Rajasthan Congress on alert, sends MLAs to resort ahead of RS elections

Jaipur: The Congress in Rajasthan seems to be on alert mode in the wake of upcoming Rajya Sabha elections scheduled on June 19 and has sent its Independent MLAs to a resort to prevent them from being poached.

While Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday morning had a scheduled meeting with all party MLAs at his residence, in the evening, the Congress whip Mahesh Joshi lodged an official complaint with Director General of police, ACB demanding a strict action against BJP workers who are trying to lure away the Independent MLAs with money power.

Joshi, in his letter addressed to the DG ACB, said, “On the lines of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, there has been an information coming via our reliable sources about efforts being made by the BJP to destabilise the government in Rajasthan by luring Congress as well as Independent MLAs who are supporting our government.”

“This despicable attempt is not only against democratic values but also against people’s expectations. This is illegal, unethical, condemnable and invites legal action. Strict action should be taken against those involved in such a despicable crime who are trying to lure people’s representatives and destabilise the government,” the letter said.

On June 19, voting for 3 Rajya Sabha seats will take place in Rajasthan where Congress has nominated two candidates — K.C. Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi, while BJP has also fielded two candidates — Rajendra Gehlot and Omkar Singh Lakhawat, making the elections interesting.

 On Wednesday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala landed in Jaipur to take stock of the situation and keep the Congress flock together.

Surjewala reached the resort where Chief Minister Gehlot along with 90 MLAs from Congress and Independents are lodged.

Official sources confirmed to IANS that more MLAs will join the Chief Minister soon at the resort.

Meanwhile, speculations were rife that the state minister Vishvendra Singh who is not going along well with the Gehlot camp, has not reached the resort. Singh is known to be from Sachin Pilot camp.

 An initial meeting of a few MLAs was held at the Chief Minister’s residence but then all senior leaders went to the resort to chalk out further strategy.

Meanwhile, BJP state president Satish Poonia told IANS, “This is just propaganda made by Congress workers. I openly challenge them to come out with proof confirming their allegation.”

He further said, “Congress, in fact, needs to set its own house in order. There were ministers and MLAs within its party who were being kept neglected for months. The government was in a comfort zone and was not working as a team. Now, as we fielded our second candidate, the entire party seems to be undergoing a tense phase and has been contacting all their MLAs.”

However, Poonia further said, “It is an open invite to Independent MLAs or a regional party MLA, who are dissatisfied with the functioning of the Congress government. They can come and join us. There is no harm in it.”

Meanwhile, an independent MLA Mahadev Khandela speaking to the media said that he has not received any call or offer from BJP. “I stand committed to Congress,” he said.

Poonia, quoting Khandela said that when Independent MLAs are openly coming out to say that they have not been approached by the BJP. “How can Congress raise such allegations,” he said.

 Meanwhile, official sources said that CPM and Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) MLAs have not yet reached the resort.

Congress has 107 MLAs and enjoys the support of RLD (1) and Independent (13), BTP and CPI (M) have 2 each, BJP has 72 MLAs and is supported by its RLP alliance which has 3 MLAs

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