Launching an offensive against the BJP, Congress leaders on Friday held a joint press conference at Jaipur.
Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, said that a complaint has been given to the Special Operations Group (SOG) too regarding the offers being made to MLAs ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled to be held on June 19. He termed it an organised crime.
Gehlot also said that the BTP and CPIM have extended support to Congress candidates. Observer for the polls Randeep Singh Surjewala said that it was necessary to keep their MLAs safe from ‘thieves of democracy’.
Gehlot said that the Rajya Sabha polls were to be held two months ago but they were postponed as time was necessary to engage in conspiracies.
“We have made a complaint to the SOG also. This is an organised crime. I am the leader of the legislative group and if I am getting some information its source cannot be divulged. The country is fighting a battle against coronavirus, but they are engaged in horse trading,” he said.
He added, “All our MLAs, independents supporting us along with two MLAs of BTP. We have requested Sitaram Yechuri and we will get the support of two CPIM MLAS. We are united and will defeat the fascist forces to ensure victory of both our candidates.”
Commenting on the need for further amendments to the Constitution to discourage horse trading, the Chief Minister took a shot at BJP and said, “There have been amendments, but they find ways. The only fool proof law is morality and they do not have morality. Whatever decisions we have taken are according to what happened in Karnataka, Maharashtra, MP and Gujarat.”
Observer for the elections, Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Three seats have come up for election and there are four candidates in the fray. Amit Shah and JP Nadda should answer why the BJP has fielded a second candidate when they do not have sufficient numbers.”
Regarding Congress’s allegations of offers made to legislators Surjewala added, “A complaint has been made and the matter is being investigated. If they have done nothing, it is fine. Under constitutional amendment apart from independents, all have to show their vote to an authorised person. So if BJP did not have malified intentions why did it field the second candidate?”
Surjewala was all praise for Gehlot’s handling of the situation and said, “Ashok Gelot ki chakki jab peesti hai achche se peesti hai. Har hawalebaz to aisi saza milegi ki udaharan pesh hoga (Gehlot handles things thoroughly and every person involved in illegal transactions will be punished in such a way that it will set an example).”
Summing up the presence of the MLAs at the resort he said, “There is no compulsion on the MLAs. They are here out of their own will to stay together. Aapke ghar koi chori karne aaye to aap apne ghar ka darwaza band karte hain. Humne bhi apne ghar ko prajatantr ke choro se bachane ke liye kiya hai (If someone wants to steal from your house you will shut the door. We have shut the door to save ours from thieves of democracy).”
Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot said, “Both our candidates KC Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi will get more votes than they need to win. We are here as we are holding discussions with our people. Social distancing cannot be maintained so we are here in open space. Our efforts at containing coronavirus have been exemplary. Despite there being no direct cash transfer to any state, we have 51 lakh people are working under NREGA. This is the largest number in the country.”
Rubbishing claims of differences within the Congress, Pilot said, “We have been hearing this for very long now. We have won every by election that came up. BJP should take a look in the mirror and tell how many factions are there in their party.”
Meanwhile the MLAs have been shifted from the Shiv Vilas resort to JW Marriot hotel after MLAs complained about facilities and privacy. They were shifted in batches on Friday.