Guj Cong in Turmoil After Two Senior MLAs Resign & One Joins BJP
Senior Congress leader Jawahar Chavda and Parshottam Sabariya resigned from Gujarat Legislative Assembly on Friday
The Gujarat Congress suffered a double whammy on 8 March, as two of its senior MLAs, Jawahar Chavda and Parshottam Sabariya, resigned from the party.
Manavadar MLA Jawahar Chavda gave his resignation to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi in the afternoon, while Parsotam Sabariya, who represented Dhrangadhra seat in Morbi district, gave his resignation in the evening.
Chavda joined the BJP at the party's headquarters in Gandhinagar, while Sabariya announced that he will join the ruling party soon.
All in all, four Congress MLAs have resigned from the party and the Assembly in the last 12 months, including Chavda and Sabariya. Meanwhile, Congress MLA from Talala, Bhagvan Barad, has been disqualified from the Assembly after he was convicted in an illegal mining case and sentenced to two years and nine months in prison .
With the loss of five MLAs, the Congress tally drops to 72 in the Gujarat Assembly, weakening their position in the state on the cusp of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
I Didn’t Join BJP for a Portfolio: Chavda
Chavda, a four-time MLA, represented Manavadar seat in Junagadh district and is considered to be an influential OBC leader from the Ahir community; he won from Manavadar in 1990, 2007, 2012 and 2017.
Chavda, 55, a four-time MLA, was inducted into the party by state Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja and senior party leader KC Patel. Though speculation is rife that he would be made a minister in the coming days, Chavda and Jadeja dismissed the reports while speaking with mediapersons.
“It is not true that I am joining the BJP to become a minister. I am in politics to serve the people. I am joining the BJP as I felt that I can serve the people in a better way if I join the party that is in power. I also felt it necessary to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the current security scenario of the country,”Jawahar Chavda, Former Gujarat MLA
"As of now, he has joined the BJP only as a member. Chavda has not demanded anything for joining the BJP. The party leadership has not decided anything about giving him any cabinet berth as of now. I cannot comment about cabinet expansion at this moment," Jadeja said.
Not Seeking Safe Haven in BJP: Sabariya
Sabariya was arrested in October last year for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe from persons accused in an irrigation scam in Morbi district in return for not raising the issue in the Assembly and with the state government. He was granted bail in February by the Gujarat High Court.
“I was not under any pressure because of the pending case. I am already out on bail. I have resigned voluntarily. I am not dissatisfied with any Congress leader. I am joining the ruling BJP as I felt that this is the best way to serve the people of my constituency.”Parshottam Sabariya, former Gujarat MLA
The former MLA claimed that he was not offered any ministership in the Gujarat government by the BJP.
In July last year, senior Congress MLA Kunvarji Bavalia had resigned as legislator and was then inducted in the BJP government as a cabinet minister. Last month, first-time MLA from Unjha seat of Mehsana, Asha Patel, had resigned from the House and party and joined the ruling BJP.
The Quint tried to reach out Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi, but he was unavailable for comment.
Alpesh Keeps Everyone Guessing
The Congress MLA from Radhanpur, Alpesh Thakor, called a meeting of his Thakor Sena to take a final decision on his course of action amid speculation that he may join the saffron outfit.
After reports emerged of him soon joining the BJP, Thakor addressed the media:
“All the rumours that are being spread about me are aimed at damaging my image. I will hold a press conference tomorrow afternoon and clear my stand.”Alpesh Thakor, Congress MLA, Radhanpur
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, when asked about Thakor's induction in the BJP, said, "You should ask this to Alpesh Thakor."
However, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the doors of the BJP are open for anybody who wants to join the party. "We welcome everybody who wants to join us and follow the BJP ideology," he said.
(With Inputs from PTI)
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.