On Sunday, Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi announced that he had accepted the resignation of 4 Congress MLAs. As per PTI, he is likely to reveal the identity of the aforesaid members in the state Assembly on March 16. This implies that the strength of Congress in the Assembly has reduced from 73 to 69. On the other hand, BJP has 103 members while Bharatiya Tribal Party and NCP have won two and one seats respectively. Earlier in the day, the Gujarat Assembly Speaker confirmed to Republic TV that 4 Congress MLAs in total had put in their papers.
Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi (in pic) has accepted the resignation of 4 Congress MLAs who tendered their resignation to him today. pic.twitter.com/qgIpQCETy0— ANI (@ANI) March 15, 2020
This development assumes significance ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled to take place on March 26. As per the numerical strength of the political parties in the Gujarat Assembly, both Congress and BJP are set to win 2 Rajya Sabha seats each. However, in a surprise move, a third BJP candidate filed his nomination too.
Following this, the Congress party began shifting its MLAs to Rajasthan in batches reportedly fearing the possibility of horse-trading. Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki are the Congress nominees for the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat while BJP has fielded Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramila Bara, and Narhari Amin. The counting of votes will take place on March 26 itself after the voting concludes. Apart from the 4 seats in Gujarat, 51 other Rajya Sabha seats across 16 seats falling vacant in April 2020 will also go to the polls.
Earlier, Gujarat Congress MLA Virjibhai Thummar refuted reports that some party MLAs had resigned ahead of the Rajya Sabha election. Conceding that there were rumours to this effect, he maintained that Somabhai Patel, a legislator speculated to have resigned was still in touch with the Congress party. At the same time, he acknowledged that attempts to contact another MLA JV Kakadia had been unsuccessful.