The Congress is expecting to touch the majority mark in Gujarat with around 90-95 seats, but is also afraid of its MLAs being poached by the BJP, sources told The Sunday Guardian.
The sources said that the chatter in Congress circles is that around 12 to 15 of its “winning candidates” are in the “BJP’s crosshairs”. A Congress source this reporter spoke to said that the party’s poll managers and senior leaders in charge of Gujarat have got “credible inputs” that senior leaders of the BJP have opened channels of communication with 12 to 15 of its candidates who are expected to win. The source added that since the party is expecting a slim majority, such a development may lead to a repeat of a Goa like situation earlier this year, where they won more seats than the incumbent BJP, but failed to oust it from power.
“We are expecting that we will get a slim majority, around 95 seats. But we also have information that a senior person in the BJP is in talks with our potentially winning candidates, and the game plan is to make them resign after 18 December, so as to bring down the strength of the house and pave the way for the BJP to prove majority,” the source quoted said.
The source said that the alarm bells went ringing after some local NGOs sent word to the Congress leaders that some of the candidates of the party were holding secret meetings with the BJP.
The source added that the matter has been taken up with Congress’ senior most leaders and the high command, adding, “Congress’ fifth columnists, who are unhappy with the elevation and success of Rahul Gandhi, are working in connivance with BJP poachers.”
However, the party’s state unit is upset that at a time when the Congress’ national leaders should spread across Gujarat and ensure an iron grip on their candidates, they are busy celebrating Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as party president, another source told this newspaper.
“This happened in Goa as well. The Congress did have some idea what was going on. But our main leaders were missing from action. In Gujarat also, while the BJP is working on Plan B and Plan C, most of our leaders are in New Delhi, eulogising the Gandhi scion who is taking over. This is the time to remain vigilant here in the state. But they are all in New Delhi,” the source complained.