Gujarat chief secy submits report to EC after Congress accuses BJP of engineering 'defections'

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Secretary JN Singh on Monday submitted a report to the Election Commission, days after the Congress appealed to the poll panel to ensure free and fair Rajya Sabha polls in the state and accused the BJP of "engineering" defections of its MLAs.

As directed by the Election Commission, Singh submitted his report by 5.00 pm. "I have submitted my report to the Election Commission today," Singh told PTI.

He said as per the instructions of the poll panel, security has been provided to all Congress MLAs.

"We have already deployed two armed policemen outside the residences of (each of) the Congress MLAs to thwart any attempt of intimidation," he said.

A delegation of top Congress leaders met Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti in Delhi on 29 July following the resignations of six MLAs of the party in Gujarat.

 Gujarat chief secy submits report to EC after Congress accuses BJP of engineering defections

File image of Gujarat Congress MLAs in Bengaluru. Image courtesy: Chidananda Patel

The Congress leaders had demanded setting up of a high-powered committee to enquire into the allegations of use of money and muscle power and blatant abuse of government machinery to engineer defections and give a time-bound report.

The EC then asked the Gujarat government to submit a report.

In a jolt to the Congress, six of its MLAs quit the party on 27 and 28 July. Three of them joined the BJP and one of them, Balwantsinh Rajput, was made the BJP's third candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled on 8 August.

In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the strength of the Congress has gone down to 51 from 57.

Subsequently, the rattled Congress tucked away 44 of its MLAs to a Bengaluru resort to insulate them from "poaching" attempts by the BJP.

The party paraded the 44 MLAs before the media in the Karnataka capital on Monday.

A section of the Congress legislators had claimed that seven MLAs who decided against going to Bengaluru include Shankersinh Vaghela, who has already quit the party, and his MLA son Mahendrasinh Vaghela. Others, who have not joined are Raghavji Patel of Jamnagar South Seat and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja of Jamnagar North seat.

The BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani and former Congress MLA Balwantsinh Rajput in the Rajya Sabha elections.

Congress veteran Ahmed Patel, the high-profile political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi, is seeking another Rajya Sabha term from Gujarat.

Of the total 11 Rajya Sabha members from the state, the term of three — Irani and Dilipbhai Pandya (both BJP) and Patel — is ending on 18 August.

Updated Date: Aug 01, 2017 08:27:46 IST