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Another Cong MLA quits before RS polls in Gujarat

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In what seems to be a gross failure of the Gujarat Congress in keeping its flock together, another MLA of the grand old party has resigned as a member of the Legislative Assembly ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls for four seats scheduled on June 19.

The resignation of Brijesh Merja from the primary membership of the party, as well as the Assembly, comes a day after two Congress MLAs quit as members of the Legislative Assembly. Merja was an MLA from Morbi. He is the eighth Congress MLA to quit his Assembly membership since March.

The Assembly secretariat confirmed that Speaker Rajendra Trivedi has accepted the resignation of Merja.

The Congress has accused the BJP of trying to break the opposition party to win the Rajya Sabha polls. However, the ruling BJP dismissed the charge, saying MLAs were leaving the Congress as they were “unhappy” with the party leadership.

On Thursday, Congress MLAs Akshay Patel and Jitu Chaudhary tendered their resignations.

In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the ruling BJP has 103 MLAs and the opposition Congress now has 66 legislators. 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 resignation of MLAs.

Of the four Rajya Sabha seats from the state set to go for polls on June 19, three are currently held by the BJP and one by the Congress.

While the Congress has fielded two candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls, the BJP has fielded three, making it difficult for the opposition party to win a second seat, especially after eight of its MLAs resigned.

Earlier, the elections were supposed to be held on March 26. However, the polls were then postponed for an indefinite period in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent imposition of the lockdown.

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