In yet another huge setback for the Congress party, five Gujarat Congress MLAs resigned from the party on Sunday ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha election on March 26.
According to the reports, at first four Congress MLAs submitted their resignations with the Gujarat assembly Speaker on Sunday. Later, MLA Praveen Maroo also confirmed that he has also resigned, taking the total number of resignations to five. The resignations come at a time when Congress party had decided to move its MLAs to Jaipur fearing desertions just ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections.
While Congress took the first batch of 14 MLAs to Jaipur on Saturday, the four lawmakers were missing. Soma Patel, JV Kakadia, Mangal Gavit and Pradhyuman Jadeja have reportedly resigned from the Congress party but their names are not officially released yet.
The Gujarat Congress started shifting its MLAs out of the state amid fears of defection ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. Another batch of 20-22 party MLAs is likely to reach the Rajasthan capital on Sunday evening.
In the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly, BJP has 103 seats, Congress 73, while two seats are with Bharatiya Tribal party and the Nationalist Congress Party has one. There is one independent legislator as well.
Further, the Congress leadership decided to shift its MLAs after BJP fielded three candidates despite having numbers to win only two seats out of four as per its strength in the Assembly. Two candidates from Congress have filed their nomination papers. The BJP will require cross-voting from Congress MLAs to win the third seat, as it needs a total of 111 votes.
The Congress will need 74 votes to win two seats. Earlier, Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani on Friday had extended his support to the Congress. The Congress has fielded senior state leader Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki while the BJP has fielded Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramila Bara and Narhari Amin.
The BJP, with 103 MLAs, is banking on the support of two MLAs of the BTP, led by tribal leader Chotu Vasava, and one of the NCP, but will still need another five votes.
The rebellion in the Congress party comes amidst the ongoing crisis in the state of Madhya Pradesh, where 22 Congress MLAs have deserted the party after former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia decided to quit the party and join hands with the BJP. With this development, the Kamal Nath-led government is at the brink of collapse.