Ahmedabad/Anand: The Congress Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from Gujarat, who were camping in Bengaluru ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, returned on Monday morning and were taken to a resort in neighbouring Anand district, party leaders said.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi, is in the fray for the Rajya Sabha polls which will be held on Tuesday.
Upon their arrival at the Ahmedabad airport, the 44 MLAs were whisked away to a resort in Anand.
The 44 Congress MLAs will stay at Nijanand Resort, located on the outskirts of Anand, till Tuesday morning, Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
"All our MLAs have invited their family members to the resort to celebrate 'Rakshabandhan'. The MLAs will be taken to Gandhinagar on Tuesday morning for the voting," Doshi said.
Earlier, Congress party chief whip and senior leader Sailesh Parmar told reporters in Anand, "All our MLAs have decided not to go to their home even on 'Rakshabandhan' and be loyal soldiers of the Congress."
"They will stay together and they will go to vote in the Rajya Sabha polls (to Gandhinagar) from Anand," Parmar said.
"Ahmed Patel and state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki will come to Anand to meet them," he said, adding they have not taken police security at the resort. As the Congress MLAs refused to take police protection inside the resort, the Anand police has deployed security personnel outside the premises.
Anand district Superintendent of Police Saurabh Singh said, "Since the party did not want any policemen inside the resort, we have deployed our force outside the resort to secure the premises. We are coordinating with Congress workers to stop any unauthorised person from entering the resort."
Congress leader Indravijaysinh Gohil, who is looking after the security arrangements at the resort, said they do not trust the police following the attack on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's car in Banaskantha recently.
"We have deployed NSUI and Youth Congress workers in and outside the resort to guard our MLAs, as we do not trust the police after what happened to Rahulji in Dhanera. We have barred policemen from entering the resort. Our workers will guard the MLAs inside the resort," Gohil told reporters.
The resort is located in Vanskhilia village of Anand taluka, considered a stronghold of the Congress.
The elections to three Rajya Sabha seats will be held on Tuesday.
Patel will take on BJP candidates including party chief Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani and former Congress party chief whip Balwantsinh Rajput who recently joined the BJP.
A pitched battle is on between the two parties to win the Rajya Sabha elections after senior Gujarat Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela quit the party.
In a jolt to the Congress, six of its MLAs had quit the party on July 27 and July 28.
In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the strength of the Congress has gone down to 51 from 57.
Subsequently, the rattled Congress tucked away 44 of its MLAs to a Bengaluru resort to insulate them from alleged "poaching" attempts by the BJP.