Another Gujarat Congress MLA resigns, third legislator to quit party in last 4 days (Photo Source: ANI)
A day ahead of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Ahmedabad, Jamnagar (Rural) MLA Vallabh Dharaviya quit the party and tendered his resignation from the Assembly to Speaker Rajendra Trivedi on Monday. Dharaviya’s is the third Congress legislator to quit the party in the past four days. "Dharaviya has resigned as Jamnagar (Rural) MLA. He told me he is resigning voluntarily," Speaker Trivedi confirmed.
A little while before Dharaviya quit, his former party colleague Purushottam Sawariya, who had resigned as Dhrangadhra MLA on March 8, joined the ruling BJP in the presence of its senior leaders IK Jadeja and KC Patel.
Sawariya was arrested in October last year in connection with an irrigation scam and was granted bail by the Gujarat High Court in February. Sawariya said he was not under pressure to join the BJP and claimed he was making the switch to develop his constituency.
"I am joining the BJP to develop my constituency. I was not under any pressure and have resigned from the Congress voluntarily. As far as the FIR is concerned, the law will take its own course. The BJP has to do nothing about it. I am not joining BJP to get any post or for other benefits," he told reporters.
On March 8, Jawahar Chavda, Congress MLA from Manavadar, too had resigned from the Assembly and was promptly inducted into the BJP. He was made a cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani government on March 9.
The total number of desertions of MLAs from Gujarat Congress ranks in the past few months now stands at five. Apart from these five, the Congress lost another MLA when Bhagvan Barad was disqualified from the membership of the House on March 5 following his conviction and two-year jail sentence in an illegal mining case.
In July last year, senior Congress MLA Kunvarji Bavalia had resigned as legislator and was later made a cabinet minister in the state government. He then won the bypoll on a BJP ticket. Last month, first-time MLA from Unjha seat in Mehsana, Asha Patel, had resigned from the House and the Congress, and joined the ruling BJP.
With this, the BJP now has 100 MLAs in the 182-member House while the Congress’s strength has been brought down to 71.