Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday claimed Congress MLAs consumed liquor and enjoyed in the swimming pool during their stay at a resort in Jaipur in March. He made the remarks at a by-election rally at Abdasa in Kutch district. Abdasa is one of the eight assembly seats were bypolls will be held on November 3.
Hitting back, Congress legislators asked Rupani why the BJP inducted those MLAs into its fold and gave tickets for bypolls if they are “tipplers". In March-end, when coronavirus cases had started emerging in Gujarat, the Congress had shifted around 60 of its MLAs to a resort in Rajasthan’s Jaipur to fend off what it called “poaching attempts by the BJP" ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls. The ruling party had denied any poaching bid.
In July 2017, the Congress had sent around 40 of its legislators to a resort outside Bengaluru citing similar reasons in run to the Rajya Sabha polls that year. “My government always cared for the people in the times of the coronavirus outbreak. But these Congress leaders went to a resort in Jaipur and were enjoying in the swimming pool after consuming liquor," said Rupani while addressing the rally near Naliya village.
“They were enjoying in Jaipur when you were fighting against coronavirus. You must seek explanation from Congress leaders when they will come here to seek your votes," said the BJP leader. He added that when north Gujarat was battling floods, Congress MLAs went to a resort in Bengaluru in July 2017.
Rupani was campaigning for BJP candidate from Abdasa Pradyumansinh Jadeja, who along with seven other Congress MLAs had resigned after the Rajya Sabha polls. Five of them had joined the BJP and subsequently given ticket for the bypolls. Besides Abdasa, the other bypoll-bound seats are Karjan, Kaparada, Morbi, Gadhada, Dhari, Limbdi and Dang.
Kirit Patel, the sitting Congress MLA from Patan, sought Rupani’s resignation for his comments. “Former Congress MLAs for whom Rupani is campaigning at present were also there in Jaipur resort with us.
“Are they tipplers according to the CM? If yes, then why they were inducted into the party and given tickets for by-poll?" asked an angry Patel. “Such comments on elected representatives are totally uncalled for, and Rupani must tender a public apology," said Patel.
Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda asked Rupani to first curb the menace of illegal liquor dens which have “flourished under his rule".