The chances of the opposition Congress to win two out of the four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat, elections for which are to be held on June 19, look slim with two of its MLAs submitting resignations.
The Congress’s strength in the Gujarat Assembly now stands at 66 MLAs, while the BJP has 103.
While the Congress has fielded AICC spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil and former state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki as its candidates, the BJP has fielded three candidates, including former deputy chief minister Narhari Amin, who had quit the Congress few years ago and joined the saffron party.
Till the beginning of March this year, both the parties had enough strength to make sure that their two candidates could win easily. However, five Congress MLAs resigned ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, which were then postponed due to COVID-19.
Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi confirmed that Akshay Patel from Karjan constituency and Jitu Chaudhary of Kaprada had submitted their resignations on Wednesday evening.
What is ironic is that until hours before Trivedi made the official announcement, state Congress president Amit Chavda dismissed as rumours the news about resignations of Chaudhary and Patel.
A meeting of Gujarat Congress MLAs was held at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan to discuss the party’s strategy. Party in-charge Rajiv Satav and senior party leader Ahmed Patel joined the meeting through videoconference.
Two months ago, the party had taken its MLAs to Rajasthan to prevent resignations.
In fact, the Congress had seen an exodus of sorts ahead of the 2017 Rajya Sabha elections. It had taken its MLAs to Karnataka, then ruled by the Congress. Ahmed Patel, who was contesting, had managed to win and Gohil, who is one of the candidates of the party, had raised a technical issue. It is said that the technical issue had helped Ahmed Patel to emerge victorious.
After the announcement of the two resignations, Amin told a television news channel that he was confident of the victory of all the three candidates of the BJP. He claimed that still several Congress MLAs are unhappy with the party and are likely to part ways.
Two more MLAs resigning from the Congress has once again exposed lack of leadership in the party. The trend has been that after the resignations, the MLAs join the BJP and majority of them get tickets in the bypolls. Two of them have been made ministers also.
Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia alleged that the BJP was trying to play politics in the coronavirus times. Opposition leader in the state Assembly Paresh Dhanani went ahead and alleged that the ruling BJP is using the money earned from Dhaman 1 ventilator for political purposes. Manufactured by a Rajkot-based company, there has been a controversy about the ventilator over its efficiency.