Congress created an uproar in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, forcing multiple adjournments, alleging that the Gujarat police had abducted its MLA in the state with a view to influence the upcoming elections to the Upper House.
Congress members trooped into the Well of the House raising anti-government slogans and accusing the BJP of “stealing” MLAs to help its candidates win the Rajya Sabha polls. This forced brief adjournments one after the other and then finally the House was adjourned for the day as the Congress members did not let up.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said he was not raising the issue of three Congress MLAs who had resigned from the party and one of them being immediately named as the BJP candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls.
He said Punabhai Gamit, MLA from reserved constituency of Vyara, after attending district Congress executive committee, had gone for a tea to another MLA’s house when district superintendent of police “abducted” him.
The police officer, he alleged, told the MLA that Congress has decided not to give him a ticket for the upcoming assembly elections and he should leave the party and join BJP and he would arrange his meeting with the BJP president and get him the ticket.
Azad alleged that the police officer who picked the Congress MLA up was the one who was arrested in a fake encounter case. The MLA managed to flee when he asked the police officer to allow him to get a changeover of clothes, he claimed.
“You are stealing MLAs by using the police (to garner votes)…You should be ashamed,” Azad said.
“You have to protect the Constitution … Voters are being kidnapped where do we go,” he added.
Earlier, Sharma had raised the issue through a point of order saying the Constitution was being violated by the ruling BJP which was using the police to “abduct” MLAs.
“They are stealing MLAs,” he said, adding that it must be guaranteed that the biennial elections to Rajya Sabha are free and fair and MLAs are released.
Union Minister Parshottam Rupala countered the charge and said it was an internal matter of the Congress whose MLAs, including the leader of the party in the state assembly, were deserting it. “Why are you complaining here,” asked Rupala.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it is the Election Commission’s responsibility to hold free and fair elections.
“If they (Congress) have a complaint, they should go to Election Commission. Rajya Sabha is not the place to protest,” Naqvi retorted.
Congress is not able “to keep its house in order”, Naqvi added.
As the protest continued, Kurien said the Chair had nothing to do with elections.
“If what has been narrated has happened, solution lies elsewhere. You can approach police, you can approach election commission and seek remedy. I have no remedy for this,” said the Dy Chairman.
(With inputs from PTI)