Gujarat Rajya Sabha election: Congress alleges police trying to frame MLA Punja Vansh in false case at BJP’s behest

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Updated: June 12, 2020 5:04 PM

Congress has alleged that party MLA Punja Vansh is being framed in in a false case to stop him from voting in the crucial June 19 Rajya Sabha polls for four seats in Gujarat.

Gujarat: Congress has already shifted its MLAs to different resorts across the state to save them from ‘horse-trading’ attempts.

The Gujarat Congress on Friday alleged the police have hatched a conspiracy at the behest of ruling BJP to frame senior party MLA Punja Vansh in a false case to stop him from voting in the crucial June 19 Rajya Sabha polls for four seats in the state.

A party delegation will make a representation to Chief Electoral Officer for Gujarat, S Murali Krishna, highlighting the issue of “horse-trading and intimidation”, said state Congress president Amit Chavda.

He claimed though Vansh’s name was not there in an FIR lodged in May at the Una police station in Gir-Somnath district, the local police were “hell bent” on framing Vansh, a six-time MLA from Una and current chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the Assembly.

“An FIR was registered in Una last month in connection with a clash between two rival groups. Despite having no role in it, the Una police summoned Vansh twice this month to record his statement. Though Vansh honoured both summonses, the police called him once again on June 11,” Chavda told reporters.

“When Vansh requested the police to give him time till the Rajya Sabha elections get over, the police did not listen and insisted that he appear before them on the given date. We fear that the police have planned to arrest our MLA to prevent him from voting. The BJP and its government are applying every trick to win the elections,” said the GPCC president.

Vansh and other Congress MLAs have been shifted to different resorts across the state to save them from ‘horse-trading’ attempts.

Till now, eight Congress MLAs have resigned, bringing down the party’s strength in the Assembly to 65, a number not enough for the opposition outfit to win two Rajya Sabha seats for which it has fielded candidates. The elections for four seats of the Upper House of Parliament was supposed to be held on March 26.

However, they were eventually postponed for an indefinite period in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent imposition of nationwide lockdown. The elections for four seats in Gujarat are now scheduled on June 19.

In March, when the Rajya Sabha polls were first announced, five Congress MLAs had resigned from the Assembly. Last week, three more Congress legislators quit after fresh election date was announced.

While the Congress has fielded its senior leaders Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki, the BJP has nominated Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin as its candidates.

In the 182-member Assembly, the BJP has 103 MLAs and the opposition Congress 65. While the Bharatiya Tribal Party has two MLAs, the Nationalist Congress Party has one legislator. One MLA, Jignesh Mevani, is Independent, while 10 seats are vacant, two due to court cases and eight following resignations.

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