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For fear of poaching, BJP airlifts Uttarakhand MLAs to Ujjain

Friday March 23, 2012 11:35:38 PM, Pervez Bari,

Hotel Mittal Avenue - where Uttarkhand MLAs have reportedly been lodged, has been turned into a fort

Bhopal: After being pipped at the post in the just concluded Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttarakhand and denied to continue to hold reins of power, the national leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the wake of the fear of poaching has reportedly airlifted its state MLAs to temple town of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.

About two dozen Uttarakhand MLAs, who were airlifted to Indore and then driven to Ujjain and housed at a luxurious hotel on Thursday noon in a hushed manner, gave an impression of being virtually kept as “hostage” amid tight security arrangements. The Madhya Pradesh and local party functionaries, including State president Prabhat Jha and organising general secretary Arvind Menon, were deputed to make sure of proper arrangements for the MLAs.

It may be mentioned here that the ruling BJP in Uttarakhand state lost power after many years as it managed to secure just 31 seats, one less than the Opposition Congress party which won 32 in the 70-member legislative assembly, the elections to which were conducted recently. Besides this, there are three BSP MLAs and four independents who have reportedly extended their support to the Congress. Since the Congress having emerged as the single largest party there, the state Governor offered it to form its government and accordingly Vijay Bahuguna was sworn-in as Chief Minister on March 15 last. The session of the new Uttarakhand assembly will begin on March 26, and Bahuguna would have to prove his majority on March 29.

The political activities have been at peak both at Delhi and Dehradun in the wake of the dissidence shown by the Congress Uttarakhand strongman and Union minister Harish Rawat. It is also learnt that a number of BJP MLAs are also in touch with Rawat and Congress leaders and moreover some of them have also expressed resentment at the BJP leaderships decision not to make a claim for forming a government.

According to sources BJP national general secretary and newly-elected Rajya Sabha member Thawar Chand Gehlot, who is also in-charge of Uttarakhand, played a crucial role to shift the MLAs from Uttarakhand to Ujjain as he belongs to Nagda (district Ujjain). It was not a mere coincidence that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan paid an "unscheduled" visit to Ujjain on the same afternoon. He was at Mumbai in the morning in connection with health problems of his wife Sadhana Singh and arrived at Indore en-route Ujjain in a special plane.

Meanwhile, over two dozen Uttarakhand MLAs descended at Indore Airport at about 12 noon and they were straight away ferried to Ujjain through the Super Corridor. Sources disclosed that a private travel agency of Indore was informed through the RTO office to provide a full 27- seater AC bus which was parked at Indore Airport.

Indore City BJP vice- president Ram Agrawal and another functionary sat in the non-AC chamber of the bus (MP 09 FA 4422), whereas about two dozen MLAs and Uttarakhand BJP president Bishan Singh Chaupal sat in the AC coach. Only a couple of functionaries of Ujjain were informed about their arrival and when they reached near Nanakheda, these functionaries helped the bus driver to enter the hotel Mittal Avenue. This is the same hotel where the BJP's State executive committee meeting was organised last year. Chief Minister Chouhan had inaugurated it.

According to local media reports the arrival and stay of the Uttarakhand MLAs was kept a tight secret. Several armed police jawans and police officers were deployed there from afternoon under the leadership of CSP, Madhav Nagar, Rajesh Sahay. Eye-witnesses said he was seen personally checking the identity of all those persons who were trying to enter the hotel. When being asked by the media persons, he only said that such a huge force has been deployed there as playback singer Anuradha Paudhwal also stayed in the hotel and the government has given her the State Guest status.

Sources said that by 6 pm, City BJP chief was arguing that they have been looking after the arrangements of guests from various states as they arrived here in connection with Vikramotsava- 2069. Kaluheda was seen reportedly asking the hotel owner to bring 30 tooth brushes, paste, bath soaps, towels etc. for the "guests". Divisional organising secretary Rakesh Dagor, Mayor Rameshwar Akhand and Ujjain Development Authority vice-chairman Anil Firojiya were also seen engaged in different arrangements, but none of them disclosed anything to the media persons who thronged there in large numbers.

Ironically, no information was given to the Neelganga police station, the area wherein the hotel falls, about their stay. It may be noted here that it has been made mandatory for the hotel owners to submit details in writing about customers.

It may be recalled here that a number of MLAs of other states like Gujarat, Jharkhand and Maharashtra were also ferried to Madhya Pradesh and particularly to Indore and Ujjain during the last decade in wake of political instability in their respective states. Apart from BJP, MLAs from Congress and Nationalist Congress Party from these states have landed in Ujjain for a couple of days in the past.






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