The 44 Gujarat Congress legislators, who were camping at a private resort near Bengaluru for 10 days, returned to Ahmedabad on Monday morning, from where they were taken to a resort in Anand district. The MLAs were whisked away from the airport in Ahmedabad and kept together at Nijanand resort on the outskirts of Anand, the town which houses the headquarters of Amul.
"All our MLAs have returned and they have been taken to a resort in Anand," Congress party chief whip and senior leader Sailesh Parmar told reporters in Anand.
The MLAs landed in an Indigo flight at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport among tight security at 4.45 am on Monday, The Times of India reported. Deputy Commissioner of Police Parikshita Gurjar said that nine senior officers and 95 armed police personnel will escort the 44 Congress MLAs from the airport, the report added.
"All our MLAs have decided not to go to their home even on this day of 'Rakshabandhan' and be loyal soldiers of the Congress party. They will stay together and they will go to vote for the Rajya Sabha polls tomorrow (to Gandhinagar) from Anand," Parmar said.
"Ahmed Patel and state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki will come to Anand to meet them," Parmar said adding they have not taken police security at the resort.
The Gujarat Congress had sent 44 legislators to Bengaluru on 29 July to fend off "poaching" attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ahead of the 8 August Rajya Sabha polls, in which Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, is contesting.
"We have the numbers. The BJP don't have the numbers. We will see to it that Patel wins the poll," Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil told PTI on Sunday.
Refusing the claim that the MLAs would be flown to New Delhi, Gohil alleged that it was the BJP which was spreading "canards" that they would first be taken to the national capital to meet Gandhi.
He also alleged that BJP was spreading "false reports" that the MLAs would use the 'NOTA' option in the polls to defeat Patel.
The Congress had also gone to the Supreme Court against the introduction of 'NOTA' (None of the above) option in the Rajya Sabha polls. However, the Supreme Court later dismissed the party's plea allowing the use of the above voting provision.
Gohil asserted that all the Congress MLAs were "united" and that they would vote for Patel in the 8 August election.
Six of the 57 Congress MLAs in Gujarat have quit the party recently, with three of them joining the BJP on 28 July.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 07, 2017 09:36 AM