Madhya Pradesh Congress president Jitu Patwari said on Monday that the party’s State unit had requested party leader Sonia Gandhi to go to the Rajya Sabha from the State.
Speaking to reporters at the MPCC headquarters in Bhopal, Mr. Patwari said the State unit, in a letter on Sunday, had appealed to Ms. Gandhi that if she chooses to go to the Rajya Sabha, she should represent Madhya Pradesh.
“Entire PCC and all our MLAs have expressed this wish. If a person who has sacrificed the post of Prime Minister goes to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, it will be an honour for us,” he said, adding that various other State units of the Congress had also made the same appeal.
Mr. Patwari’s remarks come at a time when speculations are rife that various Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister Kamal Nath, have been pushing for a seat in the Upper House of the Parliament.
A State Congress insider said the letter from the MPCC is “more of a response to the pressure being mounted by Mr. Nath on the high command.”
“Many leaders want the Rajya Sabha seat no matter how much they deny it in the public. The chances of Sonia ji representing Madhya Pradesh are very dime but if she does, nobody will be able to object it,” the leader said.
Five seats from M.P.
As many as 56 seats of the Rajya Sabha, including five from Madhya Pradesh, will go to polls on February 27. While the BJP is likely to comfortably win four seats from the State, the Congress has numbers to send one member.
Mr. Patwari also said that several of his party leaders have been served notices by the Income Tax Department summoning them to Delhi ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
He alleged that the notices to various MLAs, former ministers and Congress leaders are issued under pressure from the BJP-led Central government. “Instead of calling them to the local offices of the I-T department, they have been summoned directly to Delhi,” the Congress leader said.
Various Congress leaders, including MLA and State president of the Youth Congress Vikrant Bhuria, and party leader Devashish Jarariya, claimed that they received I-T notices on Sunday evening, asking them to appear before the department in Delhi.
Mr. Patwari also accused the ruling party of troubling small Congress leaders by various cases.
“In the notice and summons issued by the Income Tax Department, no documents were asked from anybody. Only one line order has been given in which former Congress ministers, present and former MLAs have been asked to appear in the Income Tax Department office in Delhi,” he said, adding that the leaders who have jumped over from the Congress to the BJP have not received any such notice.
In the past two weeks, several Congress leaders have switched over to the BJP. On Monday, the Congress’s Vidisha district unit chief Rakesh Katare, along with various other local leaders, joined the BJP.