Fearing poaching by the BJP, the Congress has shifted its alliance candidates in Assam to Rajasthan. Over 20 AIDUF leaders, an ally of the Congress-led Mahajot in Assam, have been placed in ‘quarantine’ in a hotel on the Jaipur-Delhi highway.
Meanwhile, politics is playing out in the state over the quarantine of the Assam candidates with BJP leaders are targeting Congress.
Union minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in a tweet said, “Ashok Gehlot ji has become the badebandi (fencing) expert chief minister of the Congress. The Assam results are yet to be announced but the ghost of defeat is already haunting the Congress.”
In another tweet, he said, “This is the primary work of the chief minister - to create a fencing of five-star services and to ‘imprison’ his own leaders. This time leaders of another party have been ‘imprisoned’. It will be apt to term Gehlot ji as Congress’s jailor.”
State BJP president Satish Poonia also took a jibe at the Congress saying hardliners from Assam were being ‘quarantined’ and hosted in Rajasthan by the Congress.
The final phase of polling in Assam ended on April 6 and results will be announced on May 2. Congress has given MLAs Mahesh Joshi and Rafiq Khan the responsibility to keep an eye on the Assam candidates who were shifted on Friday night.
The Congress feels the BJP will fall short of the majority in Assam and will try to poach winning candidates from the All India United Democratic Front or the Bodoland People’s Front, both part of the Mahajot.
Congress party sources said the strategy to shift the candidates was finalised during Gehlot’s visit to Assam for the election campaign. Congress’ Assam in-charge Bhanwar Jitendra Singh hails from Rajasthan and leaders felt it would be a ‘safe haven’ for the candidates.
The candidates have been put up in hotel Fairmount, the same venue where Congress MLAs were holed up during the political crisis triggered by former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot’s rebellion last year.