Prabhu Vasava from Mandvi constituency in South Gujarat and Chhabil Patel from Abdasa in Kutch district have joined the BJP, after five other sitting MLAs quit the Congress earlier.

In yet another setback to the Congress in Gujarat, two more of its sitting legislators on Monday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, reducing the opposition party’s number to 53 in the State Assembly, even as speculations are rife that the BJP is in touch with at least two powerful Congress MPs from the Saurashtra region.

Prabhu Vasava from Mandvi constituency in South Gujarat and Chhabil Patel from Abdasa seat in Kutch district have joined the BJP after five other sitting MLAs quit the Congress earlier. Four of them are from the crucial Saurashtra region.

Highly placed sources claimed that Rajkot MP Kunwarji Bawalia and Surendranagar MP Somabhai Patel, both powerful Koli Patel community leaders from Saurashtra, were in touch with the BJP leadership.

Both are learnt to have received feelers from the BJP to join the party and that they would be rewarded. Mr. Bawalia and Mr. Patel were ignored by the central Congress leadership during the Cabinet reshuffle six months back.

Mr. Bawalia was the leader of a 21-member committee that approached Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for a representation to Saurashtra in the Union Ministry, which did not work out.

All the rebels have a common complaint: defeated members like State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia continue to get designations, while winners have been perennially sidelined by the Congress party.

Before them, as many as eight Congress leaders and former legislators have quit to join the BJP, giving a fillip to Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of bagging all 26 seats in Gujarat.

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