On the eve of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat, Congress candidate Ahmed Patel today said he has support of “enough” number of MLAs, including those belonging to the NCP and JD(U), to win the polls.
The political secretary of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also accused the ruling BJP of “intimidating and torturing” Congress MLAs and their families to “trigger more defections”, which forced his party to shift 44 legislators to Bengaluru.
Patel was talking to reporters after he met the 44 Congress MLAs at Nijanand Resort located on the outskirts of Anand, where they have been put up after their return from Bengaluru. The party legislators will stay there till tomorrow morning.
“This poll is not at all about anyones prestige. I have full faith in my MLAs. Apart from these 44 (Congress) legislators, two of NCP and one of JD(U) would give their vote to me,” he said in response to a query on how he would get the magic number of 45 to win the poll.
“Apart from them, seven other Congress MLAs, who have not opened their cards yet, may vote for me. Even Shankersinh Vaghela has announced that he will give his vote to me,” Patel said outside the resort.
The senior Congress leader claimed that although NCP had yesterday said that it had not decided about giving support to any party, “latest reports suggest that NCP has taken a decision to support me”.
Patel also hit out at the saffron party for forcing Congress MLAs to shift their base to Bengaluru.
“I do not understand why the BJP decided to field its third candidate (against him) when they are still short of 16 votes. The way Congress MLAs were targeted for defection, our democracy has been turned into a banana republic. We were even kept under surveillance. Even I was kept under surveillance by the government,” he claimed.
“In a bid to trigger more defections, our MLAs and their families were intimidated and tortured. That is why our MLAs were shifted to a safer location,” he added.