A fifth Congress MLA in Gujarat submitted his resignation to Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi on Monday, ahead of the elections for the Rajya Sabha, PTI reported. Four Congress legislators had quit on Sunday.

Following the five resignations, the strength of the Congress in the 182-seat state Assembly has been reduced to 68 from 73. Meanwhile, the Congress suspended the five MLAs from primary membership, ANI reported.

The Speaker told the House on Monday that five Congress MLAs – Pravin Maru from Gadhada, Pradyumansinh Jadeja from Abdasa, Soma Koli Patel from Limbdi, JV Kakadia from Dhari and Mangal Gavit from Dang – had resigned from the Assembly. Their resignations have been accepted, he added.

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 seat belongs to Independent legislator Jignesh Mevani. Two seats are vacant.

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 contest 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.