Gandhinagar: In a major setback to Congress party in Gujarat ahead of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting to be held on March 12 in Ahmedabad, two more Congress legislators resigned from the party on Friday.
Jawahar Chavda, who joined ruling BJP, is a four-time Congress MLA and son of Congress veteran Pethalji Chavda of Junagadh district. Dhrangadhra legislator Purshottam Sabariya also resigned on Friday. Assembly speaker Rajendra Trivedi accepted their resignations.
Chavda said, “I wasn’t enjoying in the Congress anymore. I have not betrayed the party but I felt like joining the BJP to strengthen Modiji’s hands,”
The resignations come only days after Asha Patel, Congress MLA from Unjha, joined the ruling party. Months ago, key Congress MLA Kunwarji Bawalia joined the BJP and was made a cabinet minister the same day.
Leader of the opposition Paresh Dhanani slammed the ruling party: “BJP is misusing state machinery and offering money to lure our MLAs,” he said.
The latest development has reduced the Congress tally to 72 in 182-member assembly. Giving its best performance since 1995, the Congress had won 77 seats in 2017 state elections.
State Congress chief Amit Chavda said, “The BJP has been trying divide-and-rule strategy ahead of the LS [Lok Sabha] polls…”. Senior Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar told reporters: “He [Chavda] had never raised any issues nor has he given any reasons for quitting.”
3 more Congress MLAs may quit
There is speculation that at least three more Congress MLAs are in touch with the BJP leadership and may quit soon.
BJP state president Jitu Vaghani said, “The Congress is in complete disarray. Their own senior leaders have lost the faith and are joining the BJP.”