AHMEDABAD: Two former Gujarat Congress MLAs, who had resigned after cross-voting in the recently held Rajya Sabha election, have joined the ruling BJP.
C K Raulji, who represented Godhra, joined the BJP today at a function held in his constituency, while former MLA of Jamnagar-North Dharmendrasinh Jadeja joined the party yesterday, a BJP statement said here.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP president Jitubhai Vaghani were present on both occasions, it said.
On August 21, Rupani had announced that the former Congress MLAs who either resigned ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls or voted against Congress candidate Ahmed Patel will join the BJP soon.
Former MLAs Ramsinh Parmar and Mansinh Chauhan are supposed to join the BJP at a function at Dakor in Kheda district on August 27, while former MLA of Jamnagar-rural, Raghavji Patel, would join the ruling party on September 1.
A total of thirteen Congress MLAs, loyalists of former Congress strongman Shankersinh Vaghela, resigned from the party ahead of or after the August 8 election, alongwith Vaghela himself.
Balwantsinh Rajput, Tejashreeben Patel and Prahlad Patel joined the BJP before the election. Vaghela hasn't yet revealed his own plans.
Remaining five former MLAs -- Vaghela's son Mahendrasinh, Bholabhai Gohel, Chhanabhai Chaudhary, Amit Chaudharuy and Karmashi Patel -- are expected to follow the suit in the days to come.
Ahmed Patel won the close contest amid cross-voting by rebel Congress MLAs, including the Vaghela father-son duo, defeating BJP's Balwantsinh Rajput.
In 182-member Assembly, whose strength is now reduced to 168 following the resignations of 14 MLAs, the BJP has 122 members, Congress 43, NCP 2 and JD(U) one.
Assembly elections are due in the state later this year.