Gujarat RS polls: Two Congress MLAs resign; party cries horse-trading

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on June 04, 2020

With reducing strength, Congress’s earlier motive to secure two of the four seats going to polls seem bleak


In yet another power tussle between the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress ahead of the Rajya Sabha election for four seats from Gujarat, has resulted in the resignation of two MLAs from the State assembly.

The two legislators, namely Jitu Chaudhary representing the Kaprada Assembly constituency from Valsad district and Akshay Patel of Karjan constituency in Vadodara district, submitted their resignations to the Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi on Thursday.

Soon after the announcement of new dates for Rajya Sabha polls, discontentment started to surface in the Congress, which had been struggling to keep its flock together since the first announcement of the polls in March. The same got deferred due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown. The new date for voting for the four RS seats is June 19.

The Congress blamed the State government and BJP for horse-trading of the MLAs in order to secure more Rajya Sabha seats.

Opposition’s allegations

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel alleged that Gujarat government leaves “no stone unturned to fund horse-trading activities for a Rajya Sabha election,” he tweeted.

The State Unit — Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee — chief Amit Chavda alleged that senior bureaucrats and officials have been misusing their power at the behest of the ruling party to blackmail and induce the opposition MLAs before the polls and force them to resign.

Rajeev Satav, senior Party leader and in-charge for Gujarat State, said, “The BJP government in Gujarat has no money for betterment of public health infrastructure in the current crisis in State. But it has all the money for horse-trading of the MLAs. BJP’s priority is to secure power, not to ease the pains for people.”

Holding reign

In March, five legislators had resigned from the Assembly and the party as well, causing an embarrassment for the Grand Old Party, which had recently seen an exit of its tall leader Jyotiraditya Scindia in Madhya Pradesh and a subsequent collapse of an elected government in the State.

Fearing further exodus, Congress had moved its legislators in batches to Rajasthan - neighbouring Congress-ruled state to prevent any more poaching.

With the latest exits, the total strength of the 182-member Gujarat Assembly has come down 173. (including BJP’s 103, Bhartiya Tribal Party’s 2, Indian National Congress’ 66, NCP 1 and Independent 1 and nine vacant seats). Congress, however, has a support from independent MLA Jignesh Mewani.

BJP had earlier fielded two candidates forthe RS polls - Abhay Bharadwaj and Ramilaben Bara and later in a surprise move nominated Narhari Amin to claim three of the four RS seats going to the polls.

The Congress was seemingly confident of winning two of the four seats after fielding two heavyweights, Bharatsinh Solanki and Shaktisinh Gohil from the State. But the resignations of the Congress MLAs has weakened the prospects for Congress to secure two seats as it previously desired.

Published on June 04, 2020

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