Another Gujarat Congress MLA Resigns, Third in 2 Days, as Contest for Rajya Sabha Polls Heats Up
Another Congress MLA from Gujarat resigned from the state Assembly, dealing a blow to the opposition party’s prospects ahead of the June 19 Rajya Sabha polls.
Brijesh Merja from Morbi, a town near Rajkot, submitted his resignation to Speaker Rajendra Trivedi on Friday, a day after two legislators had resigned.
Akshay Patel and Jitu Chaudhary had tendered their resignations to the Speaker on Wednesday evening and they were accepted on Thursday.
Elections to the four Rajya Sabha seats are scheduled to be held on June 19.
With Friday’s resignation of Merja, a total of eight Congress MLAs have resigned from the Gujarat Assembly since March, leaving the grand old party with 65 MLAs, in a house which now has a total strength of 173 members with nine vacant seats.
"I have accepted their resignations. They now cease to be legislators," Trivedi said.
The Congress accused the BJP of trying to break the party in order to win the Rajya Sabha polls.
"The BJP has opened its shop to buy Congress MLAs from the money amassed through corrupt means. The BJP is using the state machinery and money power to win elections," alleged Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani.
The BJP has, however, refuted the allegations.
As things stand, a candidate would need at least 36 votes under the single transferable vote (STV) system in order to get elected to the upper house of the parliament.
The BJP has 103 MLAs in the Assembly and has nominated three candidates – Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara, and Narhari Amin – for the upcoming polls. Given the numbers, the saffron party is certain to win two seats but would need the help of others to walk away with the third.
On the other hand, Congress has fielded Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki in hopes of securing two seats. However, after the recent spate of resignations, it may find it extremely difficult to cross the threshold with the numbers that it has been left with.
Other members include two MLAs of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), one Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA, and an Independent in Jignesh Mewani. The votes of these members would also be crucial when the polling is held.