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Two more Gujarat Congress MLAs resign to join BJP

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-07-2017 PTI

Ahmedabad: In yet another blow to the Congress in Gujarat, two more party MLAs have resigned from the Assembly, taking the total number of legislators who have quit to five, ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls.

The desertion of MLAs from the Congress Legislature Party is worrying for the party which has fielded its senior leader Ahmed Patel for the Upper House election, slated on 8 August.

Mansinh Chauhan, the Congress MLA from Balasinor, handed his resignation to Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora this morning. Chhanabhai Chaudhary, the party legislator from Vansda, gave his resignation to the Speaker at the latter’s residence last night. With this the Congress’s tally has reduced to 52 in the 182-seat assembly.

The Congress is already rattled in the state, where the Assembly elections are due later this year, with veteran leader m breaking ranks with the party last week.

Earlier, Balwantsinh Rajput, the party’s chief whip in the Assembly, Tejashreeben Patel and Prahlad Patel quit the party yesterday and straightaway joined the ruling BJP.

After resigning from the House and also all party posts, they had driven to the BJP office in Gandhinagar and joined the saffron party in the presence of its president Amit Shah. Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani are the other two BJP candidates for the 8 August RS elections.

Of the total 11 Rajya Sabha members from the state, the term of three—Irani and Dilipbhai Pandya (both BJP) and Ahmed Patel—is ending on 18 August.

The Congress has re-nominated Ahmed Patel, political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi. The 67-year-old Congressman filed his nomination papers on Wednesday.

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