The Congress Chief Whip in the Gujarat Assembly Balwantsinh Rajput and MLAs Dr Tejashree Patel and PI Patel resigned from the party on Thursday and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Later on Thursday, Rajput was fielded to contest against the Congress nominee Ahmed Patel in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections on August 8, ANI reported.

They had submitted their resignations to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora. They quit a week after senior leader Shankersinh Vaghela quit the Gujarat Congress and as the leader of Opposition in the Assembly. Rajput is a close relative of Vaghela, who had clarified that he will not rejoin the BJP.

The BJP has fielded party National President Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani for two of the three Upper House seats from Gujarat that will be up for grabs in the Rajya Sabha polls.

There are 11 MPs in the Upper House of Parliament from the state. The terms of three MPs end on August 18 – BJP leaders Smriti Irani and Dilipbhai Pandya and Congress leader Ahmed Patel. The BJP has not yet announced who its third candidate is going to be.