44 Gujarat Congress MLAs return from Bengaluru amid high security


Bengaluru/Ahmedabad:  A day before crucial Rajya Sabha elections, the 44 Gujarat Congress legislators who were lodged at a resort near Bengaluru for 10 days, returned to the state on Monday morning.

The MLAs arrived at Ahmedabad’s Kempegowda International Airport in the wee hours of August 7 amid high security, as per sources.

The airport premises were turned into a fortress as a huge police contingent was deployed to boost security.

Election to three Rajya Sabha seats will be held on Tuesday. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is contesting one of the seats. The BJP has put up three candidates for the three seats, including party chief Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani and former Congress party chief whip Balwantsinh Rajput who recently joined the BJP.

While the BJP’s electoral strength in the Gujarat assembly will ensure Irani’s and Shah’s election, the party needs at least a dozen votes to ensure the victory of its third candidate, Balvantsinh Rajput against Ahmed Patel.

While the Congress had 57 MLAs in the assembly, its strength has reduced over the past week following the resignation of six legislators. More defections, or cross-voting, could ruin Patel’s chance of winning.

The 44 Congress MLAs had gone to Bengaluru on July 28 after the party was hit by a spree of defections in Gujarat.

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