Gujarat Congress moves Supreme Court over NOTA in Rajya Sabha polls

Violet Powell
August 4, 2017

Gujarat MLA and national spokesperson AICC (All India Congress Committee) Shaktisinh Gohil said, "They are threatening our MLAs".

"Why are you so late in raising the question as Election Commission had issued notification in January 2014?" the apex court asked the Congress. There are reports that the BJP is attempting to prevent the re-election of Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is also an advisor to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Shivakumar, incidentally, is the person tasked to look after MLAs from Gujarat, by the party's central leadership.

Rajya Sabha elections do not take place by secret ballot.

Senior Congress leader, Ahmed Patel who is contesting the Gujarat RS polls for his fifth term also lashed out at the BJP, accusing them of being "on an unprecedented witch hunt just to win one Rajya Sabha seat".

The Congress has also issued a whip to its MLAs to remain present on the day of the polling, failing which they will be debarred from the party for six years. Election Commission officials on Wednesday made it clear that in pursuance of the Supreme Court's direction, the panel had issued instructions on October 11, 2013, for providing NOTA option on ballot papers after the name of the last candidate.

Since the NOTA option has been added to the election if any lawmaker defies the party and chooses to vote for NOTA the lawmaker can not be disqualified.

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The Congress had on July 29 flown its MLAs to the resort located in the Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Shivakumar's younger brother DK Suresh.

Though Bhartruhari Mahtab, the parliamentary party leader of the ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha said that he did "not think there is even a remote possibility of BJP succeeding in engineering defection in our party", his party colleague did not share his confidence. The raids, however, has kicked up a political storm with the Congress leadership blasting the Narendra Modi-led government of misusing state machinery to intimidate opposition parties.

Earlier on Sunday, the Congress accused the BJP of buying and threatening their MLAs in Gujarat for Rs. 15 crore and paraded its 44 MLAs who are camping in Bengaluru.

There are conversations in political circle in Bengaluru that the Gujarat MLAs may be attacked on their way back home for the Rajya Sabha elections, scheduled for 8 August.

In the 182-member Assembly, the strength of the Congress has gone down to 51 from 57.

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