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After losing 6 of its legislators in what can only be called a huge blow for Congress, the high command of the party has moved most of the remaining party members to a resort in Bengaluru to avoid losing more legislators before the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8.
As many as 44 of the remaining 51 Congress MLAs left for Bengaluru, most of them by 11.45 p.m. Indigo flight from Ahmedabad to Bengaluru in Congress-ruled Karnataka while the others from South Gujarat and Saurashtra flew off through Mumbai to the South Indian metropolis.
Party sources are claiming that the members are being moved as a last-ditch attempt to prevent any more legislators from leaving the party to the BJP in view of the August 8 Rajya Sabha elections where the veteran leader and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's Political Secretary Ahmed Patel is contesting from Gujarat.
A party source said, "All our Gujarat MLAs have been put up at the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bidadi on the Mysuru road after they flew into the city in two batches from Ahmedabad via Mumbai."
"We don't have details on their programme and how long they will stay here. We have been told to take care of them," added the official.
The resort is located in the Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Congress lawmaker D.K. Suresh, younger brother of Karnataka Power Minister D.K. Shivakumar.
"Our party's high command in Delhi directed us on Friday night to look after them during their stay in the state," the official said.
Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhvdia said, "What they did in Goa, Manipur and in Bihar, they are trying to do the same in Gujarat. Our legislators are being threatened or offered money. People like an IPS officer who was behind bars for 8-9 years in a fake encounter case are being used to kidnap our MLAs, offer money or threaten our legislators. There are insecurity and environment of terror. So our legislators are being moved to safety."
The Congress Party faced a huge jolt on Friday as six of its lawmakers left the party within the last 24 hours after which the party decided to shift 44 of its remaining 51 MLAs in the 182-set Gujarat Assembly to the Bengaluru in order to prevent them from being poached by the BJP.
Patel, political secretary to party President Sonia Gandhi filed his nomination in Ahmedabad on July 26. He needs 47 preference voters in the first round for re-election.