In another setback to the Congress party in the state, two MLAs resigned from the Gujarat Assembly on Thursday ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls on June 19.
The two legislators, Akshay Patel and Jitu Chaudhary, tendered their resignations to the Speaker Rajendra Trivedi on Wednesday evening which were accepted on Thursday.
"I have accepted their resignations. They now cease to be legislators," Trivedi said.
With these resignations, a total of seven Congress MLAs have resigned from the Gujarat Assembly since March, leaving the grand old party with 66 MLAs, in a house which now has a total strength of 173 members with nine vacant seats.
Elections to the four Rajya Sabha seats are scheduled to be held on June 19. Three of these seats are currently held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while Congress holds one.
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.
The elections to the four seats were earlier scheduled to be held in March this year but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.