A day after senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel won the Rajya Sabha elections with a small margin, the party cracked down on dissidents in Gujarat for cross voting and expelled for six years eight of its legislators for violating the party whip. AICC general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot said the party has "already expelled" eight MLAs from the party and will expel six more for the violation of the whip in Rajya Sabha polls. Gehlot said those expelled were indulging in anti- party activities and indiscipline will not be tolerated in the Congress.
Gehlot said he has recommended expulsion of six of Congress legislators who had resigned as MLAs before the polls. Three of them had later joined BJP and on was nominated to contest against Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha polls. Balwantsinh Rajput, former Chief whip of Congress in the Gujarat Assembly, secured 38 votes against Patel's 44.
"Eight Gujarat Congress MLAs have already been expelled from the party. Six more Gujarat Congress MLAs to be expelled from the party for violation of the whip in RS polls," Gehlot told ANI.
The Gujarat Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said the eight MLAs were expelled for cross-voting in favour of BJP candidates defying the whip issued by the party.
These MLAs are: Shankarsinh Vaghela, his son Mahendrasinh, Raghavji Patel, Bhola Gohil, Dharmendra Jadeja, P K Raulji, Amit Chaudhary, Karan Patel. Vaghela, a former chief minister, had resigned from the Congress and the post of leader of the opposition in the Assembly weeks ahead of the RS elections, but not from the House.
"We have expelled them for six years as they defied the party whip and cross-voted. We will take action against them under the anti-defection law also," said Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki.
Patel beat the BJP nominee in a bitterly fought election after late night dramatic developments saw the Election Commission reject the votes of two dissident MLAs of the main opposition party for violating electoral rules.
Gehlot thanked the Gujarat unit of the party for the victory of Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in the RS poll.
"It is Congress party's unity in Gujarat which has ensured Ahmed Patel ji's victory in Rajya Sabha Polls," he said.