Stepping up attack on Gujarat Congress for shifting its MLAs to Bengaluru amid flood-like situation in the state, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani alleged the decision was taken by party leader Ahmed Patel out of his “greed” to win the Rajya Sabha seat. Rupani alleged that just like Sonia Gandhi’s affection for his son Rahul Gandhi sank the Congress in the country, Patel’s “greed and desperation” to save his Rajya Sabha seat will eventually sink the party in Gujarat. “Sonia Gandhi’s affection for her son has drowned the Congress in the entire country. Though the citizens rejected Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, Sonia’s ‘putra moh’ sank Congress. Similarly, Ahmed Patel’s greed to save his Rajya Sabha seat here will sink Gujarat Congress,” he said. The chief minister today reached the flood-affected Banaskantha district.
After interacting with the locals in Kankrej taluka and other affected regions, Rupani decided to stay in Banaskantha and Patan for the next five days to oversee the relief operations, a government release said. According to Rupani, the Congress MLAs from Banaskantha and other affected regions should have stayed with the people in this difficult time. “Out of his greed to win the Rajya Sabha poll, he sent 40 Congress MLAs to Bengaluru. Some of them belonged to those districts which are badly hit by flood. Patel forced them to leave their constituencies, as he was only concerned about his Rajya Sabha seat,” the chief minister alleged. “The people of Gujarat are watching this. I believe that the Gujarat Congress will sink only because of Ahmed Patel,” he said.
The Congress has re-nominated Patel, the political secretary to party chief Sonia Gandhi, to the Upper House of Parliament from Gujarat. Meanwhile, Patel along with state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and former party chief Siddharth Patel also visited the flood-hit areas in Banaskantha today and interacted with the locals to understand their problems, a party release said. Talking to mediapersons in Palanpur, Patel refuted Rupani’s allegation that leaving Gujarat and moving to Bengaluru shows the “insensitive approach” of the Congress MLAs, at a time when the state is facing flood-like situation.
He alleged that Congress MLAs from Banaskantha and other flood-affected regions were forced to leave the state by the BJP-led state government. “The allegations against our MLAs are baseless. Before leaving, they started relief camps and also gave instructions to local workers. They are still keeping a close watch on the relief operations from Bengaluru. Our MLAs took all possible steps to help the people,” Patel said.
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“Our MLAs were forced to leave Gujarat as they and their family members were being tortured by the state government,” he alleged. “Even now, many Congress workers and leaders are actively involved in helping people. We are also here to help people,” he said. Patel exuded confidence of winning the Rajya Sabha election, to be held on August 8. “I am totally confident of winning the poll. Not just those (who are in Bengaluru), some other MLAs are also in my support and I have full trust in them,” he said. Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel yesterday said that at the time when people of north Gujarat are facing problems due to excessive rains, the entire Congress has gone to Bengaluru to enjoy. The Congress earlier sent 40 of its legislators to a resort outside Bengaluru to prevent desertions from its ranks ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.
In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the strength of the Congress has gone down to 51 from 57 after six of its MLAs tendered their resignations, casting a shadow on the fate of Patel in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls. Of the total 11 RS members from the state, the term of three–Smriti Irani and Dilipbhai Pandya (both BJP) and Ahmed Patel–is ending on August 18.