It is not only the Congress that fears poaching of its MLAs by the BJP in Rajasthan, but also the latter which wishes to keep its flock intact. Close on the heels of the Congress sending its MLAs to plush hotels, the desert state's opposition party is busy packing off 18-20 MLAs to BJP-ruled Gujarat.
Around a dozen MLAs from Jalore, Sirohi and Udaipur divisions were shifted on Friday night to a resort in Ahmedabad whereas another group of six MLAs were at the Jaipur airport at the time of filing of this report. They were about to leave for Porbandar by a chartered flight.
Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia dubbed the sojourn of the party MLAs as an “excursion trip”, while admitting that they were being lured by the Congress and senior officials of the state. Hence, they are being sent on a tour, he added.
Poonia said that the ruling Congress is “misusing” government machinery in Rajasthan for “selfish ends”.
“Many officials have visited our MLAs in the tribal belt and tried to influence them through immoral ways. Our MLAs were depressed and tense and hence we planned an excursion trip for them.”
The BJP leader said they would be back by August 12, though the final date needs to be decided. They will offer prayers at the Somnath temple on Monday, he added.
However, Poonia refused to use the word ‘camping’ for the BJP MLAs and said that this word has been coined by the Congress and its MLAs in Jaisalmer are literally being monitored by security teams.
Meanwhile, former PCC Vice-President Archana Sharma said that “they (BJP) are blaming the Congress, but there is a dispute within the party. Hence, they are taking their MLAs to Gujarat.”
A senior politician, who wanted anonymity, said that the state BJP is feeling threatened after former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s meeting with the party leadership in Delhi and her readiness to regain her foothold in Rajasthan politics. (IANS)