ACB to ban horse-trading ahead of Rajya Sabha elections, urges Rajasthan Congress

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Congress on Sunday filed a complaint with the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), asking it to stop any attempt to horse-trade MLAs ahead of the June 10 Rajya Sabha elections.

Congress chief whip in the state assembly Mahesh Joshi on Sunday submitted a complaint in this regard to ACB Director General of Police (DGP) BL Soni.

“There is a possibility of horse-trading and hence I have given a written complaint to ACB to be vigilant and thwart such attempts,” Joshi told reporters after meeting Soni. If needed, the government will also file a complaint with the Election Commission.

He said the Congress has not named any person or party in the complaint.

“We have not named any particular person in the complaint, but it has been done to keep the ACB alert. We will not tolerate any kind of corruption and horse-trading,” the senior leader said.

In his complaint to the ACB, Joshi said, “There are apprehensions through social media and other means that money power may be used in the Rajya Sabha elections to be held on June 10.”

Voting will be held on June 10 for 57 seats in the Upper House of Parliament spread over 15 states and union territories. Four of these seats are from Congress-ruled Rajasthan.

Congress has fielded three candidates Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Pramod Tiwari. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded former state minister Ghanshyam Tiwari as its candidate and has decided to support businessman Subhash Chandra’s candidature as an independent. The ruling Congress with 108 MLAs in the assembly is set to win two out of the four seats outright, and the BJP is set to win one.

The Congress would then have 26 surplus votes, but would fall short of the 41 votes needed to win the third seat. The BJP, which has 71 MLAs, will be left with 30 surplus votes after securing its seat. There are 13 independents in the assembly, of which the Communist Party of India (CPI) holds two seats, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) three, the Tribal Party of India two and the Rashtriya Lok Dal one.

Congress MLAs are housed at Udaipur’s Taj Aravalli Hotel, where the party held its contemplation camp last month, as resort politics – a familiar trend in recent years – to curb poaching attempts by other parties Resumption ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs who joined the Congress reached Udaipur on Saturday night after an hour-long meeting with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, said MLA Sanyam Lodha, advisor to the CM.

The Rajasthan unit of BSP on Saturday issued a whip asking six MLAs to vote for independent candidates instead of Congress and BJP.

Gehlot told reporters in Udaipur, “The MLAs… stood with the Congress during the political crisis in 2020, then how could the BJP or the candidates supported by them expect that they would support them.”

He said the MLAs who won on BSP tickets had joined the Congress to provide a stable government in the state without any conditions.

“Congress will win all three seats comfortably. We have foiled their horse-trading conspiracy in the past, this time also on the evening of June 10, you will see that whatever conspiracies are going on, they will not be of any use.

On Saturday night, Gehlot met Rajendra Gudha, Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali, Lakhan Meena, Girraj Singh Malinga and player Lal Bairwa.

“Every MLA has his own problem. They had minor resentment and now they have come together,” Gehlot said.

On filing the complaint with the ACB, Gehlot said that this has been done because the BJP-backed independent candidate is an industrialist. Gehlot said, ‘How will he get votes as an independent candidate…’

The BJP on Sunday said horse-trading and hoarding of MLAs is a practice followed by the Congress.

“It is they who are hoarding MLAs and doing pressure politics, but making baseless allegations against the BJP,” he said. Senior BJP leader and former minister Vasudev Devnani said that all such practices of horse-trading and hoarding belong to the Congress and not the BJP.