Cong MLAs return to Gujarat; taken to resort in Anand

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Cong MLAs return to Gujarat; taken to resort in Anand

A day before the high-stakes election, Ahmed Patel on Monday made a last-ditch effort to woo back his flock. It is after nearly two decades that a contest is taking place in Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. Once they reach Ahmedabad, the MLAs will be taken to Neejanand Resort on Anand-Borsad Road in Gujarat.

If the polls are more a prestige issue for the Congress, the BJP senses a chance to humiliate the grand old party even in the Upper House.

The MLAs were moved to a private resort near Bengaluru on July 29 following the resignation of six Congress legislators. 52 police cars will be put to use for MLAs' security.

With Amit Shah and Smriti Irani nearly certain to retain their seats, a win against Ahmed Patel will be a major jolt to the Congress. If Shankersinh Vaghela and BJP can manage 11 votes, Balwantsinh would win. However, he also added that this is an election, and "anything can happen". However, NCP leader Praful Patel yesterday said his party had not yet taken any decision on extending support to any particular party in these polls.

"The BJP has forced us to take this step".

As the past few years have seen the dwindling of Patel's political stars, those of Shah, have been shining brighter than ever. Of them, two are set to win, given the BJP's strength of 122 lawmakers in the assembly. At present, Congress has 51 MLAs in the house but Vaghela's loyalists are expected to abstain or vote against Patel on Tuesday.

Patel remains confident of victory, saying on Monday that the "numbers will be surprising" when the results are declared. "They can go to any extent". This is example of a banana republic.

He will also meet each of his party MLA individually.

Vaghela, however, remarked that this election had come to him as a "crisis". "The Congress abandoned its voters during the heavy rains and floods".

Of the 57 party legislators in the 182-member Gujarat assembly, the six quit the party on July 26 and three of them joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on July 28. Losing in his home state could hamper Congress' chances in the Assembly elections scheduled for December.

The Congress is banking on the support of two NCP MLAs and one each of JD (U) and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP). Over the last one week the political drama has been unfolding in Gujarat. In the recently-concluded presidential elections, about 11 Congress MLAs had voted in favour of Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA's candidate. BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani are in the fray.

While its first two candidate will sail through, the BJP will have to manage extra votes to enable Rajput beat Patel.

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