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Rajya Sabha polls | Congress MLAs return to Jaipur

New Delhi: Haryana Congress MLAs being shifted from the residence of party MP Deepender Hooda, where they had gathered ahead of voting for Rajya Sabha polls, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 2, 2022. Congress leadership has summoned all its Haryana MLAs to New Delhi amid speculations of cross voting during Rajya Sabha elections. File

New Delhi: Haryana Congress MLAs being shifted from the residence of party MP Deepender Hooda, where they had gathered ahead of voting for Rajya Sabha polls, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 2, 2022. Congress leadership has summoned all its Haryana MLAs to New Delhi amid speculations of cross voting during Rajya Sabha elections. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Congress and independent MLAs staying at a resort near Udaipur since June 2, 2022 returned here on Thursday, a day before the elections for four Rajya Sabha seats from Rajasthan, amid the indications of a close fight for one seat on which media baron Subhash Chandra is contesting as an Independent with the BJP’s support.

The MLAs, who arrived at the Sanganer airport here by a special flight, were taken straight to a luxury hotel on the outskirts of Jaipur, where they will stay overnight. With the ruling party taking all precautions to protect them from horse-trading, the legislators will be taken together to the Assembly for polling on Friday.

The Opposition BJP MLAs were also staying in a hotel near Jaipur, where a mock drill was conducted for polling. Though five MLAs reportedly made a mistake in the mock polling, the BJP leaders affirmed that the legislators would remain careful during the actual polling process.

1996 incident

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told reporters at the airport that the election results would “teach a lesson” to the BJP to ensure that the party did not make attempts for horse-trading in future. “The Congress is certain to win three of the four seats, but the BJP has laid very wrong traditions. They had even harassed [former Chief Minister] Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who was forced to take the MLAs to Chokhi Dhani resort,” he said, recounting an incident of 1996.

Mr. Gehlot said the BJP’s complaints to the Election Commission and the Enforcement Directorate had depicted its nervousness, as there was no basis for the charges of misuse of office and violation of the model code of conduct. “The complaint made to the ED defies logic. What do they want to prove?” he asked.

A whip issued by the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) to its two MLAs late on Wednesday night, asking them to abstain from voting, created a confusion, as the legislators, Rajkumar Roat and Ram Prasad, have already announced their support to the candidates fielded by the Congress. The two MLAs indicated that they would vote for the Congress despite the whip.

‘Demands not met’

BTP State president Velaram Ghogra, while issuing the whip, stated that though the party had supported the Congress government during the political crisis in 2020, the demands raised for the tribal areas had not been fulfilled. The party had earlier sought an assurance on the demands such as dropping of cases against tribal youths in the Kakri-Doongri violence in 2020 and appointments to clear backlog of vacancies.

Meanwhile, a Vacation Bench of the Rajasthan High Court on Thursday dismissed an application seeking a stay on the declaration of results of the Rajya Sabha polls till the disposal of writ petitions pertaining to disqualification of six MLAs who were elected on the Bahaujan Samaj Party ticket in the 2018 Assembly election and had later merged with the Congress.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2022 8:39:39 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/congress-mlas-return-to-jaipur-a-day-before-rajya-sabha-polls/article65511589.ece