Fearing cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections on June 10, resort politics is back in Haryana and Rajasthan where the Congress is making all possible attempts to keep its flock together.
Around 40 Rajasthan Congress MLAs and some Independents have been taken to a hotel in Udaipur — reportedly the one where the party’s Chintan Shivir took place last month. Meanwhile, the Haryana MLAs are being flown to Raipur in Chattisgarh.
In Rajasthan, the move comes after media baron Subhash Chandra, who is backed by the BJP, filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls. Chandra’s entry could torpedo the Congress’ chances of winning a third seat and has created a contest on the fourth.
Chandra is currently a member of the Upper House of Parliament from Haryana and his term is going to expire on August 1. The filing of papers by him as an independent candidate had prompted Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to allege that the BJP wants to indulge in horse trading.
Gehlot made the statement as the ruling Congress with its 108 MLAs in the state Assembly is set to win two of the four seats going to the elections on June 10. After winning two seats, the Congress will have 26 surplus votes, 15 short of the required 41 to win the third seat.
On the other hand, the BJP has 71 MLAs in the state Assembly and set to win one seat, after which it will be left with 30 surplus votes — 11 short of the required 41 votes.
There are 13 independents and 8 MLAs of smaller parties in the Rajasthan assembly. The Congress has the support of 12 independents.
The Congress has fielded Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Pramod Tiwari from Rajasthan. However, Chandra’s entry has made the contest tough for the fourth seat. The BJP’s own candidate is Ghanshyam Tiwari.
In Haryana, the Congress candidate Ajay Maken faces a challenge from businessman Kartikeya Sharma who made a last-minute entry as an independent. The party summoned all its 31 Haryana legislators to Delhi for a meeting on Thursday and they were taken to Chhattisgarh.