At least four Congress MLAs in Gujarat have submitted their resignations to Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi before the upcoming election to Rajya Sabha seats, PTI reported on Sunday.
“Four Congress MLAs tendered their resignation to me on Saturday, and I will announce their names in the Assembly tomorrow [Monday],” Trivedi told the news agency. Following these resignations, the strength of the Congress in the 182-member state Assembly has been reduced to 69 from 73.
The BJP has 103 seats in the state Assembly, while two seats are with the Bharatiya Tribal Party, and the Nationalist Congress Party has one. Another one belongs to Independent legislator Jignesh Mevani.
Meanwhile, India Today reported that a fifth MLA, Praveen Maroo, has also tendered his resignation. According to the report, JV Kakdia, and Somabhai Patel are among those who quit the Assembly.
On Saturday, Congress had moved 14 of its MLAs to Rajasthan’s Jaipur city amid rumours of horse-trading by leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the state. The saffron party’s Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramila Bara and Narhari Amin will be contesting for the Rajya Sabha seats. Senior Congress leaders Bharatsinh Solanki and Shaktisinh Gohil have been fielded for the elections.
With its number in the state Assembly, the BJP can only win two seats unless it is able to ensure cross-voting from the Opposition, or defection of Congress MLAs to win a third seat. Independent MLA Mevani on Friday reportedly extended his support to the Congress for the polls. The Rajya Sabha elections will be held on March 26.
However, Gujarat Congress MLA Virjibhai Thummar refuted the news of the resignations, and said the party has not received them. “MLA Somabhai Patel was in touch with Congress till yesterday,” he added. “I tried but couldn’t contact JV Kakadia and another legislator.”