Blow to Congress in Gujarat: two more MLAs resign ahead of Rajya Sabha polls
The Gujarat Congress unit is witnessing a spurt of resignations of its legislators ever since the Rajya Sabha elections have been announced. "The BJP has opened its shop to buy Congress MLAs,” the Congress state leadership said.
The Congress, despite being in the opposition, is failing to holds the fort in Gujarat. The announcement of the Rajya Sabha election triggered a spurt of resignations of its legislators.
In the latest blow to the party, two Gujarat legislators have submitted their resignations to the state assembly speaker stating that they were “unhappy” with the party leadership.
Notably, the Rajya Sabha election in the state is due on June 19, and a reduced strength in the house will increase the hurdles for the Congress candidates in the fray.
The Congress has accused the BJP of trying to break the Opposition party in order to win the Rajya Sabha polls. However, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have rejected these allegations.
Two Congress MLAs - Akshay Patel and Jitu Chaudhary - had met the Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi on Wednesday evening to tender their resignations. While Patel is an MLA legislator from Vadodara seat, Chaudhary had won Kaprada constituency.
"I have accepted their resignations. They now cease to be the legislators," Assembly speaker Trivedi told reporters in Gandhinagar on Thursday.
The Rajya Sabha elections were scheduled to happen on March 26. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the elections to the Upper House were deferred. Earlier this week, the Election Commission had announced that the Rajya Sabha polls for 18 seats, including Gujarat, will be held on June 19.
It is important to note that since March, seven Congress MLAs have resigned, including Patel and Chaudhary. In March, five Congress MLAs had tendered their resignations.
Of the four Rajya Sabha seats from the state set to go to the polls on June 19, three are currently held by the BJP and one by the Congress.
The Congress’ stakes are higher in these polls as it has fielded the top guns - Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki - in the electoral fray. The BJP has fielded three candidates. Considering the depleting numbers of the Congress, winning the second seat will prove an uphill task for the Opposition party.
Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) Paresh Dhanani has accused the BJP of breaking the Congress in order to win the Rajya Sabha polls.
"The BJP has opened its shop to buy Congress MLAs from the money amassed through corrupt means. The BJP is using the state machinery and money power to win elections," he alleged.
However, BJP's Narhari Amin refuted the allegations. "I believe that some more Congress MLAs would also resign in the near future. They are leaving Congress because they are unhappy with the party leadership," Amin said.
In the 182-member assembly, BJP has 103 MLAs, Congress 66, Bharatiya Tribal Party 2, and NCP 1. One seat is held by an Independent, Jignesh Mevani, while nine seats are vacant - two due to court cases over poll-related disputes and seven due to the resignation of the MLAs.