Union minister Smriti Irani today took potshots at the Congress, saying the party was worried about ensuring the victory of its Rajya Sabha candidate, while its MLAs had left the flood-affected people of Banaskantha in Gujarat to fend for themselves. The opposition party has sent its MLAs to Bengaluru to prevent their `poaching’ ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. Talking to reporters at Banaskantha, Irani, herself a BJP nominee for the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, said the Congress MLAs have deserted their constituents in the flood-hit Banaskantha.
“People of Banaskantha are searching for Congress representatives who had promised them in the last election that they will stay with them through thick and thin,” Irani said. “Not just the people of Banaskantha, but the entire country is watching Congress’ game of power where the concern of the top leadership is to ensure the victory of one representative,” she said, without naming Congress candidate Ahmed Patel.
Irani today visited several flood-affected areas in the district with Balwantsinh Rajput, who recently quit the Congress to join the BJP. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is camping in Banaskantha for the last five days to oversee relief work.
The Congress has taken its 44 MLAs to Bengaluru after six of its MLAs resigned, three of them joining the BJP, ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha elections where Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the Congress president, is a candidate. The party has accused the BJP of trying to offer bribes to its MLAs for cross-voting, a charge the ruling party has denied.
For the three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat for which elections will be held, the BJP has fielded party chief Amit Shah and Rajput, and renominated Irani.