From Guj to K’taka, tracking ‘dirty political games’ BJP, Cong are playing over one RS seat
Bengaluru, August 3: How much have you heard about Gujarat floods? Probably not much if you are not a resident of the state--the home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to latest reports, at least 224 people have lost their lives and around 4.5 lakh people have been affected by floods in Gujarat, this year. Unfortunately, the massive human tragedy is not prime time news.
What we get to see on news channels are possibly things which politicians might want us to devour nights after nights as families huddle together during their dinner time in front of television sets to know and understand the great Indian democracy and its functioning.
So, what we are watching and reading these days, after the Bihar coup, is another coup which has its roots in Gujarat, but has spread its branches in Karnataka and Delhi, thus becoming a pan-India political potboiler.
The story of one Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat, the election of which is slated on August 8, where close-aide of Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, is contesting, has become a battle royal between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.
Rumours suggest that BJP president Amit Shah in his attempt to further weaken the Gandhi parivar (family) has strategically targeted Patel, the political secretary to the Congress president. Patel is the man who has been credited for the Congress' two major victories in the Lok Sabha elections of 2004 and 2009.
By planning to defeat Patel, a seven-time parliamentarian from Gujarat (currently a Rajya Sabha member), in the latest contest, the BJP wants to make the Gandhi family almost defenceless before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Patel, in a recent interview to NDTV, said that Shah has personal animosity against him and thus want to see him lose the Rajya Sabha seat.
Patel and his party colleagues alleged that the BJP had tried to entice the Congress' members of legislative assembly (MLAs) from Gujarat by offering them a humongous sum of Rs 15 crore each to join the saffron party.
The Congress made the allegation after six of its MLAs abandoned the party to become members of the BJP, just a couple of days ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls that will decide the political future of Patel and maybe the Gandhi family too.
Prior to the six MLAs leaving the Congress, the party witnessed the exit of its senior leader from Gujarat, Shankersinh Vaghela. In Gujarat, the Congress has been getting one jolt after another. The first major setback was the cross-voting of eight of its MLAs in favour of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Ram Nath Kovind during the presidential elections.
The BJP vehemently denied all the charges and literally mocked the Congress for not being able to keep its flock together. In order to avoid losing more MLAs, the Congress decided to put 43 of its Gujarat MLAs together in an airplane and fly them down to Bengaluru, Karnataka, where the party is in power.
For several days, the Gujarat Congress MLAs had a gala time at a resort located in the suburbs of the IT hub, while people of Gujarat fought a lonely battle against floods.
Things were going seemingly fine for the Congress till Wednesday, when Income Tax (IT) sleuths raided the resort and residences of the Karnataka energy minister DK Shivakumar, who was taking care of the Gujarat MLAs.
IT raids were also conducted in several properties of Shivakumar in Delhi. Till late Wednesday night, raids conducted in at least 60 properties owned by the Karnataka minister led to the recovery of around Rs 11 crore in cash by the IT department.
Once again, the Congress cried foul alleging that "the BJP is on an unprecedented witch-hunt just to win one Rajya Sabha seat."
The BJP, on its part, once again denied all the allegations. Senior leaders of the BJP maintained that the IT raids were strictly against Shivakumar for allegedly amassing unaccounted wealth and had got nothing to do with the Gujarat MLAs.
For a neutral observer, the Gujarat drama that is being currently staged in Karnataka is one more episode of political impropriety, where both the ruling and the opposition parties have flouted all rules and moralities in their attempt to grab power.