Ahmedabad: Ahead of elections for the heads of district and taluka panchayats, the Gujarat Congress has shifted its councillors out of the state, fearing attempts to lure them by the ruling BJP.
Elected members of district panchayats have been shifted till the elections for the posts of president and vice president, said Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.
"To stop the BJP from luring Congress councillors to capture Congress-ruled district panchayats, we have shifted our councillors out of the state.
This was necessary to thwart the BJP's attempt to acquire power through money," he said.
Local bodies in Gujarat, though having a tenure of five years, elect new heads midway through the term.
Elections for heads of over 200 taluka panchayats will be held tomorrow, and that of 31 district panchayats will be held on Wednesday.
A majority of these local bodies are currently controlled by the Congress.
Party sources said that Congress councillors of Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Patan district panchayats (all ruled by the Congress) have been shifted to hotels in Rajasthan and the Union Territory of Diu.
Taluka panchayat members to have been kept together at various places in Gujarat, they said.
Gujarat Congress in-charge Rajiv Satav today held a meeting with party observers to take a stock of the situation.
"The BJP is known for misusing power....Recently we have seen it in Gujarat.
But this sends a message among the masses that the BJP is using money power to snatch power.
It will have to pay the price for this," Satav told reporters.
The opposition party has also sent a letter to the state chief secretary J N Singh.
"In view of the unfair means adopted by the ruling BJP to acquire power by hook or by crook, we urge you to deploy adequate police force during the polls....We also urge you to do videography of the elections on June 19 and 20," the letter stated.