Oppn protests in RS over kidnapping of Gujarat Congress MLA

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It is to be said that BJP has nominated party president Amit Shah from Gujarat and Union Minister Smriti Irani as Rajya Sabha candidate. Rajput was among the three Congress MLAs who resigned from the Congress and the State Assembly on Thursday.

Congress Chief Whip Balwantsinh Rajput, MLA from Siddhpur who quit on Thursday, is rebel leader Shankersinh Vaghela's close relative.

Chhanabhai Chaudhary, the party legislator from Vansda in Navsari district, gave his resignation to the Speaker at the latter's residence last night, while Ramsinh Parmar, MLA from Thasra in Anand district quit today from the Congress party and as MLA.

Azad said he was not raising the issue of three Congress MLAs who had resigned from the party and one of them being immediately named as the BJP candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls.

Congress earlier on Friday alleged that the Gujarat police had abducted its MLA in the state with a view to influence the upcoming elections to the Upper House.

With these resignations, the total strength of the state Assembly has gone down to 176, and Patel would need 46 of the 51 Congress votes to make his Rajya Sabha comeback.

He added that Congress MLAs were being offered bribes "of crores of rupees", election tickets and other allurements.

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The 77-year-old has said he will not return to his old party the BJP, which he quit in 1996, but he is seen to have been enlisted to play spoiler for the Congress.

Out of the 9 retiring members, four are from the Trinamool Congress, two from the Congress, two from the BJP and one from the CPI-M.

The resignations also follows the cross voting by at least 11 Congress MLAs in the recently held presidential elections.

"I don't know if these MLAs, who are trying to be very fearless on BJP advice, have been made aware of the consequences of 7-10 years of punishment as per law", he said. "All this is being done when Amit Shah himself is a Rajya Sabha candidate".

This has left the Congress anxious no end, as it fears Vaghela's ability to influence other party legislators to vote against Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha polls.

It was alleged that Scheduled Tribe Congress MLA Punabhai Gamit, a three-time legislator, was being threatened and lured.

Moreover, they have accused BJP President Amit Shah of engineering defections by using "money and muscle power".