Three Congress MLAs join Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat

Gujarat: Three Congress MLAs join Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat. The last presidential election and the exit of veteran leader Shankersinh Vaghela last week, the Congress suffered another setback in Gujarat on Thursday as three of its MLAs Balwantsinh Rajput (Sidhpur), Tejashree Patel (Viramgam) and Prahlad Patel (Vijapur) quit the party to join the BJP.

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The BJP immediately declared Rajput, who was the Congress’s chief whip in the Assembly, as its third candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled to be held on August 8. Its other two candidates are party chief Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani.

This has injected an element of uncertainty in the re-election of Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who filed his nomination papers on Wednesday.

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The exit of the three MLAs, which comes just months ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections due in December, has reduced the Congress’s tally to 54 in the 182-seat assembly. While each Rajya Sabha candidate needs 47 votes to win, there is speculation that some disgruntled Congress MLAs may cross-vote in favour of Rajput. He will also get the BJP’s spare votes