In a major jolt to the Congress party ahead of Lok Sabha 2019 polls, Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of senior party leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, is likely to join BJP, an official from the saffron party said on Monday. Song of Congress party in Maharashtra Assembly, Sujay is set to join the BJP in presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a district BJP leader confirmed.
The development follows the Sharad Pawar-led NCP spurning a request by Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil to leave aside the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat for his son. Sujay last week held meetings with BJP leader Girish Mahajan. Dilip Gandhi is BJP's sitting MP from Ahmednagar LS seat.
On Monday afternoon, Jamnagar (Rural) MLA Vallabh Dharaviya quit the party and tendered his resignation from the Assembly to Speaker Rajendra Trivedi ahead of the Congress Working Committee meeting in Gujarat.
“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 Parsotam Sabariya, who had resigned as Dhrangadhra MLA on March 8, joined the ruling BJP in the presence of its senior leaders I K Jadeja and K C Patel.
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 has been constantly increasing weeks ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2019.
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. The BJP now has 100 MLAs in the 182-member House while the Congress has 71 MLAs.
(With PTI inputs)