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In Rajasthan, all six MLAs of BSP now Cong members

The sudden shift of the BSP MLAs towards the Congress has jolted Mayawati

In Rajasthan, all six MLAs of BSP now Cong members

New Delhi: In a politically significant development in Rajasthan, all six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs formerly joined Congress on Friday after meeting party president Sonia Gandhi.

After all the six members of the BSP finally took the membership of the grand old party, the strength of Congress in Rajasthan assembly has gone to 107 in the house of 200 members.

Notably, all the six BSP MLAs in Rajasthan had flipped over to the Congress in September. After taking the membership, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi congratulated all six MLAs on the occasion.

Speaking on the development, Congress' Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pande said, "These MLAs have been with the party, but now with their joining the party, the state government in Rajasthan has become stronger."

Soon after joining the party formally, MLA Ranveer Singh Guda said, "I shall stand strong to help Congress in difficult times like 'Hanuman'. Even in 2009, six BSP MLAs had joined the Congress," he added.

The six MLAs include Guda from Udaipurwati, Wajib Ali from Bharatpur, Joginder Awaana from Nadbai, Sandeep Yadav from Alwar, Deepchand Kheriya from Kishangarhbas and Lakhan Singh from Karauli. All the six MLAs were given the Congress scarf by Pande.

However, the sudden shift of the BSP MLAs towards the Congress in September had jolted BSP chief Mayawati.

While Sonia Gandhi had given her in-principle approval for the induction of these MLAs into the party, state Congress chief Sachin Pilot was reportedly not kept in the loop during the entire episode, confirmed party members.

In September, the six BSP MLAs met Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi and handed over a letter informing him of their decision. Guda at that time had said that all MLAs had joined the congress to fight "communal forces" and to ensure stability of the state government.

Soon after 2018 assembly election, the BSP had announced to extend support to the Congress from the outside. However, Awana said that it was difficult to give external support to the party.

All the six lawmakers have joined the grand old party at the time when BSP supremo Mayawati demanded resignation of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot over the issue of deaths of newborns in Kota hospital.

In a tweet, Mayawati said, "This is highly shameful. Gehlot must be dismissed and replaced by a new dispensation otherwise more women will lose their children."

It's not that BSP MLAs have defected to Congress for the first time as during the previous regime of incumbent chief minister Ashok Gehlot as in 2009 all the six MLAs of BSP had joined Congress, when the government was five short of a clear majority.

Slamming Congress over the move, Rajasthan state BJP spokesperson Amit Goyal said that the Congress has a history of "buying" MLAs. "Gehlot had cheated Mayawati around 10 years ago also, and he did the same now by "buying" all six MLAs. It's sad the BSP didn't learn from the past," Goyal

said.

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