3 Gujarat Cong MLAs quit, join BJP

3 Gujarat Cong MLAs quit, join BJP

It will make tough for for Ahmed Patel to RS

3 Gujarat Cong MLAs quit, join BJP

In another jolt to the Congress in Gujarat, three party MLAs considered close to Shankarsinh Vaghela on Thursday quit and joined the BJP, which quickly declared one of them its candidate for Rajya Sabha polls against Congress veteran Ahmed Patel.

Patel, who has made it to the Rajya Sabha since 1993, will now have a tough fight on hand. He, however, is confident of making it to the Upper House for the fifth time.

Ahmed Patel, the 67-year-old political secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat on Wednesday. He requires 46 first preference votes while the Congress has 57 seats in the 182-strong Gujarat Assembly.

The Congress leader filed his nominations in the presence of two NCP MLAs and the lone JD(U) legislator, flaunting his more than comfortable position to enter the Upper House.  However, things are far from comfortable on the ground. The first signs that Patel could lose votes came in July 17 Presidential elections, when 11 Congress legislators voted for the NDA candidate.

Shankarsinh Vaghela, Patel’s friend since 1977, pulled the rug from under the floor by announcing that he was quitting the Congress.

The seemingly endless shocks for the Congress had its third instalment on Thursday when three MLAs quit the party and their seats in the Assembly and joined the BJP in the presence of Amit Shah.

Even as Siddhpur MLA (and Congress whip in Assembly) Balwantsinh Rajput, Viramgam legislator Tejashreeben Patel and Vijapur MLA P I Patel were speaking to the media at the BJP headquarters, four more Congress MLAs were meeting Vaghela at his residence, heightening speculations that they too would cross over.

The three in BJP camp gave the same reason for their decision to leave the party: there is too much infighting in the Congress and joining the ruling party would help them serve their constituency.

“I have served the party for over 35 years but was cornered for being related to someone,” Rajput, a close relative of Vaghela, said. “I have quit (Congress) with a heavy heart.”

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