Jaivardhan Singh and Jitu Patwari escorted MLA Ramabai out of the Gurgaon hotel.
High drama outside a five-star hotel in Gurgaon near Delhi, that began late last night, continued early this morning with a few MLAs from the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh allegedly 'forcibily' kept at the hotel. It was top Congress leader Digvijaya Singh who headed a late-night 'rescue' operation along with his son and another party leader.
Digvijaya Singh, his son Jaivardhan Singh and another Congress leaders, Jitu Patwari reached the ITC Grand Bharat hotel in Gurgaon's Manesar at around 1 am. Both Jaivardhan Singh and Mr Patwari are ministers in the Madhya Pradesh government.
At around 2 am, the two state ministers were seen walking out of the hotel with Ramabai, an MLA suspended from Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Ms Ramabai, in a green kurta and a yellow jacket, was seen being escorted out as Jaivardhan Singh pulled her blue trolley bag.
"The BJP has tarnished Indian politics and detained MLAs with their families. These people want to form the government with money and muscle power. The Kamal Nath governemtn will complete five-year term," Jaivardhan Singh tweeted after bringing the MLA out of the hotel.
The four who are reportedly still inside the hotel are Congress MLAs Hardeep Dang, Raghuraj Kansana and Bisahulal Singh and independent MLA Shera Bhaiya. There are reports that the four may be moved to Chikmagalur in BJP-ruled Karnataka.
Six others who the Congress says it managed to rescue from the Gurgaon hotel are currently at a hotel in south Delhi's Vasant Kunj. They include suspended BSP MLA Ramabai, Congress's Sanjiv Singh, Ranvir Jatav, Rajvardhan Dattigaon, Kamlesh Jatav and Rajesh Shukla (Samajwadi Party).
The developments come a day after Digvijaya Singh accused the BJP of poaching its party MLAs to topple the Congress government in the state. He had claimed that that former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Narottam Mishra have been trying to "lure the Congress's legislators by offering Rs 25-35 crore". "The BJP's Rampal Singh, Narottam Mishra, Arvind Bhadauria, Sanjay Pathak were going to give them money. Had there been a raid, they would have been caught… We think 10 to 11 MLAs were there, only four are still with them now, they will also come back to us," Mr Singh said today.
The BJP's Gopal Bhargava, Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh assembly, denied his party's involvement. "We have nothing to do with this," he said.
The Kamal Nath government has 120 MLAs, four over the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly. Out of these, 113 are from the Congress, two from the BSP, one from the Samajwadi Party and four independents. If four members go, the government will be left with 116. The BJP has a strength of 107 MLAs. Two seats in the assembly are vacant.