More Trouble For Congress, 3 MLA Joins BJP

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Gandhinagar: Chips are falling around for the Congress and the Opposition. After Nitish Kumar split away from the Mahagatbandhan re-allying with the BJP to form government in Bihar, it is the Congress house in Gujarat that seems to be crumbling.

Three Congress legislators from Gujarat on Thursday tendered their resignations to the party high command and joined the BJP ahead of Assembly elections in the state.

Balwantsinh Rajput and Tejashree Patel, who are considered to be close to former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela, wrote to Sonia Gandhi to announce resignation from the party. Later, at a public function, both leaders joined the BJP.

Balwantsinh Rajput, in his letter, said that he was being targeted by former party colleagues because of his proximity to Vaghela, who he is related to him by marriage.

“For the last few years, the Congress party has been trying to harm my reputation through my colleagues intentionally. Some party people have tried to hurt my reputation in the party due to my family relationships with Shankarsinhji Vaghela,” Rajput wrote. Rajput added that the party’s alleged inability to control such persons showed “lack of power” in the Congress leadership.

It is to be noted that Shankersinh Vaghela, arguably the strongest leaders in Gujarat Congress, recently claimed he had been expelled from the party after the presidential election results showed there has been excessive cross-voting in favour of the NDA’s nominee, Ram Nath Kovind.

Speculation is rife that Rajput, who was the Congress chief whip in the Gujarat legislative assembly, could be nominated by the BJP to contest the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections from the state. Three seats from the state go to polls on August 8.

The BJP yesterday announced the names of party president Amit Shah and Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani to contest on a BJP ticket from two seats. The name of the third contender is yet to be announced.

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