AHMEDABAD: A day ahead of the Congress Working Committee meeting here, Jamnagar (Rural) MLA Vallabh Dharaviya Monday quit the party, tendered his resignation from the Gujarat Assembly and joined the BJP.
Dharaviya's is the third resignation of a Congress MLA in the past four days.
"Dharaviya has resigned as Jamnagar (Rural) MLA. He told me he is resigning voluntarily," Speaker Rajendra Trivedi confirmed.
It was a homecoming for Dharaviya who was with the BJP earlier before switching over to the Congress ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls and winning on the opposition party's ticket.
"I am originally a BJP soldier. I had worked under PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah earlier. I am leaving Congress because of infighting. I have realised that only BJP can ensure people's well-being," he said after joining the party.
"After the recent (February 26) air strikes on Pakistan (terror camp), I have realised that Modi must be re-elected as Prime Minister. Congress does not have such leadership," he further said.
Dharaviya belongs to the Sathwara community, part of the Other Backward Classes, which has a strong electoral presence in Jamnagar district.
A little while before Dharaviya quit Monday afternoon, his former party colleague Parsotam Sabariya, who had resigned as Dhrangadhra MLA on March 8, joined the ruling BJP in the presence of its senior leaders I K Jadeja and KC Patel.
Sabariya was arrested in October last year in connection with an irrigation scam and was granted bail by the Gujarat High Court in February.
Sabariya said he was not under pressure to join the BJP and claimed he was making the switch to develop his constituency.
"I am joining the BJP to develop my constituency. I was not under any pressure and have resigned from the Congress voluntarily. As far as the FIR is concerned, the law will take its own course. The BJP has to do nothing about it. I am not joining BJP to get any post or for other benefits," he told reporters.
On March 8, Jawahar Chavda, Congress MLA from Manavadar, too had resigned from the Assembly and was promptly inducted into the BJP.
He was made a cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani government on March 9.
The total number of desertions of MLAs from Gujarat Congress ranks in the past few months now stands at five.
Apart from these five, the Congress lost another MLA when Bhagvan Barad was disqualified from the membership of the House on March 5 following his conviction and two-year jail sentence in an illegal mining case.
In July last year, senior Congress MLA Kunvarji Bavalia had resigned as a legislator and was later made a cabinet minister in the state government.
He then won the bypoll on a BJP ticket.
Last month, the first-time MLA from Unjha seat in Mehsana, Asha Patel, had resigned from the House and the Congress and joined the ruling BJP.
The BJP now has 100 MLAs in the 182-member House while the Congress has 71 MLAs.