Two more Congress MLAs have resigned from the party ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat on June 19. Media reports said that Speaker Rajendra Trivedi had confirmed that Congress MLA from Karjan Akshay Patel and Kaprada MLA Jitu Chaudhary had tendered their resignation as Congress MLAs on Wednesday evening itself.
With this, the number of Congress MLAs who have resigned from the party stands at seven. The name of Thasra MLA Kanti Parmar as another one who has resigned has also been doing the rounds, but it could not be confirmed.
Patel had gone incommunicado and was not even available at his house. Leader of Opposition in the Congress Paresh Dhanani in a tweet said that the BJP government was perhaps using the funds from the Daman ventilator to buy MLAs. The Daman ventilator controversy refers to locally made ventilators supplied by a businessman closely associated with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and the BJP. The ventilators were later found not to be useful. The state government had procured these ventilators from the company.
Earlier five five Congress MLAs – Pravin Maru from Gadhada, Pradyumansinh Jadeja from Abdasa, Soma Koli Patel from Limbdi, J V Kakadia from Dhari and Mangal Gavit from Dang had resigned after the announcement of Rajya Sabha candidates but they had not formally joined the BJP.
The BJP had put up three candidates for the four seats despite having the numbers to win just two seats. This had given rise to speculations that there would be horse trading happening.
The fight will be among the BJP’s three candidates – Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramila Bara and Narhari Amin, the latter had left the Congress for the BJP – and Congress’ candidates Bharatsinh Solanki and Shaktisinh Gohil.
The Rajya Sabha elections were necessitated after the end of term of four Rajya Sabha members — Chunibhai Gohel, Shambhuprasad Tundiya and Lalsinh Vadodia from BJP and Madhusudan Mistry from Congress.