Bengaluru: In a dramatic development on Friday night, nine Congress MLAs from Gujarat were flown into Bengaluru in what is being interpreted as an attempt to prevent them from being poached by the ruling BJP in that state. As many as five Congress MLAs in Gujarat have defected to the BJP camp ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections.
Sources said that besides the nine MLAs, another 35 MLAs from Gujarat are likely to land in Bengaluru by Friday midnight. The party had 57 MLAs in the Gujarat Assembly.
The airlifting of the MLAs to Bengaluru is seen as a desperate effort by the party to ensure that Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel wins the Rajya Sabha elections from that state. The operation is being monitored by CM Siddaramaiah and AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka K.C. Venugopal with ministers K.J. George and Dr H.C. Mahadevappa assisting them.
The Gujarat MLAs are likely to be lodged at a resort near the Bengaluru international airport and may remain here till the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat are due.
Sources said a similar operation was conducted when S.M. Krishna (now in the BJP) was chief minister here with energy minister D.K. Shivakumar overseeing the airlifting of Congress legislators from Maharashtra to save the government in that state, headed by late Vilasrao Deshmukh.