New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Rattled by the resignation of half a dozen of its legislators in Gujarat ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha elections, the Congress on Saturday approached the Election Commission here on Saturday and demanded a high level probe into alleged horse trading by the BJP.
A delegation of senior Congress leaders – Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Manish Tiwari, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vivek Tankha met the EC and submitted a memorandum.
The delegation asked the EC to “forthwith constitute a high power committee of independent persons/officers to enquire into charges of money power, muscle power and blatant abuse of government machinery for purpose of engineering defections and resignations of Congress MLAs”.
Jolted by the exit of six of its lawmakers since Thursday, the Congress on Saturday herded 44 of its remaining 51 MLAs in the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly to Bengaluru.
The Congress alleged that at least three of its MLAs – Punabhai Gamit (Vyara), Mangalbhai Gamit (Dang) and Ishwarbhai Patel (Dharampur) – have been approached by the “BJP and its agents to defect in consideration of monetary allurements”.
“The state government, administration and police are being used (for influencing MLAs). It is sad that it is all being done in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Azad, who led the delegation, told mediapersons after meeting the EC.
“We also asked the EC to transfer or suspend all such officials involved in this shameful activity…who abducted, kidnapped our MLAs,” he added.
Sharma said that the stories of Congress MLAs not being happy with the party and therefore defecting are “not true”.
“How come a party that does not have enough MLAs to field a third candidate for Rajya Sabha, steals an opposition MLA and puts that person up as a candidate…Such a thing has never happened…It’s an assault on democracy,” Sharma said.
The Congress party had raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha on Friday and asked the Chairman to direct the Election Commission to take notice of the matter. Its members forced repeated adjournments in the House on the issue.
The Chair asked the Congress MPs to approach the EC with their grievances.
Congress veteran leader and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel is contesting the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.