Gandhinagar, March 14 (IANS) After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday fielded a third candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections, the Gujarat Congress is fearing horse trading of their MLAs ahead of Rajya Sabha elections.

The party which is yet to be out of shock of the Madhya Pradesh imbroglio, is now mulling to shift a majority of its legislators to Chhattisgarh or neighbouring Maharashtra.

In the 182 members state assembly, the BJP holds 103 seats while the opposition Congress holds 73. Looking at the current status, both the parties have adequate strength to win two Rajya Sabha seats each, as each Rajya Sabha candidate needs 37 votes. The Congress can have the remaining vote with the assurance of independent candidate Jignesh Mevani.

But the BJP is not happy with the loss of one seat as it had three members in the current term, which now ends on April 9.

On Friday, the BJP gave everyone a shocker by fielding Narhari Amin as the third candidate. The BJP is banking on three votes from other parties — two from Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) and one from the lone legislator from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). In order to get the required votes of 111, the BJP still needs support of five Congress MLAs which the party feels confident of acquiring.

The BJP is banking on the internal in-fighting the Congress is experiencing, as it was even evident from the announcement of their candidates for Rajya Sabha. Rajiv Shukla, after being named to be the candidate from Gujarat, was dropped to be replaced by Bharatsinh Solanki.

According to sources in Congress, even now many MLAs and leaders have shown a dissent against the high command for not fielding a Patidar face to represent in the Rajya Sabha. Looking at all of this, the confidence of BJP cannot be ruled out.

The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) also feels the same and so high chances of horse trading feared by it. Having that fear, the party is planning to move its MLAs outside Gujarat.

Earlier there were talks of shifting them to a resort in Rajasthan, where the party is in power. But the Rajasthan Congress is already burdened with the flock of MLAs recently arrived from Madhya Pradesh where a similar situation is created with the deflection of Jyotiraditya Scindia.

So now, the party feels that their MLAs should be shifted to Chhattisgarh or Maharashtra. There is also another problem. Right now the budget session of Gujarat state assembly is midway, so the legislators’ presence in the house is also required.

According to sources it has come to be known that a week prior to the Rajya Sabha elections, a majority of Congress MLAs will be taken to some resort in Chhattisgarh or Maharashtra and only 15 to 20 senior legislators, which are in the confidence of the high command will attend the state assembly.




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