All 44 Congress MLAs who have been camping in a resort in Bengaluru since last week are expected to be back in Gujarat on Sunday, two days before voting for the Rajya Sabha elections and a day before Raksha Bandhan. The MLAs arrived at Ahmedabad's International Airport in the wee hours today amid tight security.
"The Gujarat MLAs will fly to New Delhi on Monday morning".
Dismissing media reports and BJP's accusations that Congress MLAs were having fun at the Bengaluru resort, while people in their constituencies in Gujarat were suffering because of floods, Mr Gohil said, "If we wanted to have a good time, we would have accepted the Rs 15 crore from the BJP and stayed at some fancy resort". They were shifted to a resort in Anand district, 77 kms from Ahmedabad.
Though the Gujarat Congress MLAs put up an united front during their stay in Bengaluru, there is an apprehension in the ranks of the Congress that a few will not vote for the Congress in the polls on August 8.
AICC spokesperson and Gujarat MLA Shaktisinh Gohil charged the BJP with spreading rumours that the MLAs will use the NOTA (None Of The Above) option in the Rajya Sabha polls to defeat the Congress nominee Ahmed Patel, who is the political secretary of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Patel is seeking a fifth Rajya Sabha term from Gujarat.
The MLAs will cast their votes for upcoming Rajya Sabha polls on August 8. Patel had earlier told the agency that the party was "confident of victory" in the polls as "all MLAs are with us".
"Ahmed Patel and State Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki will come to Anand to meet them", he said, adding they have not taken police security at the resort.
Last week, the Income Tax department raided several premises owned by Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar and his family, including Bengaluru's Eagleton Resort where the 44 legislators were staying. Six of the 57 Congress MLAs in Gujarat have quit the party recently with three of them joining the BJP on July 28.
The Janata Dal Party JD (U) on Monday advised the Congress Party that hiding its MLAs is not the way to give a strong response to Bharatiya Janata Party-led ruling government's horse trading.