BY FLYNN REMEDIOS: A senior BJP leader in Goa was heard boasting that the three Goa Congress MLAs who cross-voted in the Presidential Elections were paid Rs 15 lakh post the election as a gift. The same leader at a private party in Panaji few days ago had in a drunken, inebriated state openly boasted before a group that 4 Congress MLAs were offered Rs 15 lakh each as a “gift” before the elections, but they had turned down the offer.
However, after the elections it was revealed that out of the four, three Congress MLAs did actually vote for the NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. It was then decided to give them Rs 5 lakh as a gift and it was given immediately.
Out of the three Congress MLAs who cross-voted, two of them are most probably likely to resign and step down in the near future, the drunk BJP leader had told his friends at the party.
Barely four months ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Congress was jolted when eight of its MLAs voted in favour of Kovind.
Another shock for the Opposition candidate came from Maharasthra, where the Congress and NCP have 83 MLAs, Samajwadi Party has one and CPI(M) one.
The AIMIM has two MLAs and the Peasants and Workers Party of India has three. But Opposition candidate Meira Kumar managed to get only 77 votes.
State Congress president Ashok Chavan had said it was difficult to say who had cross-voted, as there was no whip. But in Rajasthan, where Assembly elections are due next year, the Congress claimed that six BJP MLAs had voted in favour of Kumar. There was cross-voting in other states too.
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After six Congress MLAs left the party ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls, the Gujarat Congress flew down over 40 of its MLAs’ to Eagleton Resort in Bengaluru to prevent further cross over on July 28. Minister D.K. Shivakumar was put in-charge of holding the MLAs together. The minister had been in-charge of such resort stays of MLAs during times of crisis for Congress party earlier as well.
The Income Tax (IT) department on Wednesday morning raided Eagleton Golf Resort in Bengaluru where the Congress Gujarat MLAs are staying.
The IT department has also raided Karnataka energy minister DK Shivakumar’s residence in Kanakapura.
The minister was in-charge of hospitality for Gujarat Congress MLAs in Bengaluru.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel called the raids an “unprecedented witch hunt” saying, “after using the state machinery and every agency, now this IT raid reflects desperation and frustration of BJP.”
Earlier, the Congress accused the BJP of trying to poach its MLAs by offering a bribe of Rs 15 crore each to cross-vote in the Rajya Sabha polls.
Multiple teams of IT sleuths swooped down on these locations simultaneously at 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, sources confirmed. Sources said other locations of close associates and relatives of the minister-MP duo were also being searched.
Minister D.K. Shivakumar and his brother D.K. Suresh also had two separate rooms booked at the resort from the last five days. These rooms were also broken open and searched in their absence, sources said.
Incidentally in the last six months, several State Congress leaders including Hoskote MLA MTB Nagaraj, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Women’s wing chief Lakshmi Hebbalkar and firms linked to another minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, were targets of IT search and seizure operations in the state.