Cong accuses BJP of using money, muscle power to engineer

Amit Shah with Smriti Irani

Three had quit yesterday, promptly joining the BJP and sources said more resignations are expected in what is seen as revenge designed by veteran politician Shankarsinh Vaghela, who exited the Congress last week.

Chhanabhai Chaudhary, a legislator from tribal Vansda seat, and Mansinh Chauhan from Balasinor submitted their resignations to Speaker Ramanlal Vora on Friday.

The Congress on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat of horse trading ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for August 8.

"It is the innate belief of these MLAs in Congress ideology and their impeccable integrity that deterred the conspirators and resulted in an absolute failure of their conspiracy to cause defections through allurements", the Congress said.

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

On Nitish Kumar switching sides, the Congress leader said it is like number portability where the chief minister is the same and only the service provider has changed from the RJD to the BJP.

There have for always been rumors of Vaghela attempting to split Congress in the state, which became clear after 11 Congress legislators cross-voted in favour of the BJP's candidate, Ram Nath Kovind, during the Presidential polls.

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The terms of nine Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat and West Bengal are ending on August 18. "Some party colleagues have tried to hurt my reputation in the party due to my family relations with Shankersinh Vaghela".

The move by Congress comes in wake of six of its 57 legislators quitting party in last two days.

"BJP is stealing our MLAs".

After resigning from the House and also all party posts, they had driven to the BJP office in Gandhinagar and joined the saffron party in the presence of its president Amit Shah.

Ahmed Patel, political secretary of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on Wednesday filed his nomination papers from Gujarat for the Rajya Sabha polls.

Patel can sail through if he musters the support of 47 MLAs and the party is able to arrest further desertions from its legislative arm.

In a media statement earlier this week, Vaghela said that Patel had offered him a Rajya Sabha seat but he had turned it down.

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