The Congress' Gujarat MLAs, who have been camped at a resort outside Bengaluru over the weekend even as their state suffers from massive flooding, made a show of strength and unity at a news conference on Sunday afternoon.
The 40+ lawmakers had been hurriedly shepherded to Bengaluru on Friday night amid a string of resignations within their camp. The Congress, at that point, had accused the BJP of using 'money and muscle' power to indulge in horse trading. Senior Congress leaders even took their complaints to the Election Commission.
The Congress' desperation to keep its MLAs on a tight leash arises from the question mark over whether the party has sufficient seats to nominate Sonia Gandhi's close aide Ahmed Patel to the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming polls.
The MLAs denied that they're being kept there against their wishes, instead offering that they're fighting to protect democracy. They also maintained that their phones have not been taken away from them.
The news conference was addressed by senior Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohil who said the following things:
"BJP hitting below the belt; we are fighting to protect democracy"
"BJP MLAs were not worried about the floods, they were busy trying to break the Congress"
"We are not here due to pressure from someone. It was our call to come to Karnataka"
"Ask these MLAs the way they are threatened, they chose to stand by party even when offered Rs 15 crore"
"Seven MLAs are in our contact, their conscience is awakening. Request them to not come in people's tricky ways, stick to loyalties"
"As soon as this crisis is resolved we will all be back in our constituency working for our people"
"I can guarantee that no one from our group will indulge in cross voting"
The full news conference may be viewed above.