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To prevent poaching, Congress shifts Maharashtra MLAs to Jaipur resort


JAIPUR: After the Shiv Sena, it's the Congress in Maharashtra that is trying to prevent its MLAs from being poached. On Friday, as the ongoing power tussle between the pre-poll alliance partners Shiv Sena and the BJP intensified in Maharashtra, the Congress moved many party MLAs to Jaipur in Gehlot-ruled Rajasthan, amid allegations that the BJP was trying to lure Congress MLAs in its attempts to reach the majority-mark.  

According to party sources, out of 44 Congress MLA's in Maharashtra, about 10-odd MLAs had already reached Jaipur by Friday evening and others will soon join them. The MLAs are being kept at Buena Vista - a luxury resort located on the Jaipur Delhi Highway. This is a five-star facility resort and is located about 4-5 km inside the main highway. With the political crisis deepening after the resignation of Devendra Fadnavis, the Congress is trying to ensure that nobody is able to contact or tempt its MLAs amid reports that some of them were offered money to switch sides. AICC General secretary and state party in-charge Avinash Pandey is reportedly over-seeing the entire operation in Jaipur and reached the resort on Friday evening.

While talking to the media at Jaipur Airport, Avinash Pandey alleged that the MLAs were shifted out of Maharashtra as BJP is trying to indulge in horse-trading and said, "There have been attempts to threaten and scare our MLAs and also to lure Congress MLAs with huge sums of money. We are just trying to be careful as the BJP can do anything, even throttle democracy, to get into power."  

According to reliable sources, 8 MLAs were brought on an Air Asia flight to Delhi and then shifted to Jaipur by road, another 15-20 MLAs are expected to arrive by Saturday morning at the Jaipur resort.   

There are two major reasons for shifting Maharashtra MLAs to Jaipur. The first is that Rajasthan is a Congress-ruled state; and secondly, CM Ashok Gehlot already has the experience of keeping Gujarat MLAs in Karnataka when he was party-in-charge of Gujarat elections and the party believes that the MLAs can be effectively prevented from being poached. Besides monitoring their movements all through the day and night in Jaipur, the capital of a Congress-governed state, party workers have reportedly been assigned for each MLA to keep them comfortable and in cheerful spirits. Late on Friday evening CM Gehlot himself visited the resort and reportedly held detailed discussions and chalked out further strategies with all MLAs who have been brought from Maharashtra to Jaipur