Ten Congress MLAs in Gujarat, including the seven who defied the party whip and voted for BJP candidates in the just-concluded Rajya Sabha polls in the state, would join the saffron party soon, former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela's son Mahendrasinh said in Gandhinagar today. However, his father, who was among the eight MLAs who were expelled by the Congress yesterday, would not join the ruling party, he added. Of the 10 MLAs, eight including Vaghela and his son, who had voted for the BJP candidates in the Rajya Sabha poll, were expelled by the Congress yesterday. "Apart from these seven MLAs, three others, who had tendered their resignations last month, will join the BJP in the days to come. My father is not joining the BJP. I thank the Congress for expelling us," said Mahendrasinh, the MLA from Bayad in Sabarkantha district. "All the 10 MLAs, including me, have discussed the issue and decided to switch over. We have already had talks with BJP president Amit Shah, state BJP president Jitubhai Vaghani and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani," he told reporters. On August 8, eight Congress MLAs had voted for the BJP candidates in the Rajya Sabha election for three seats from Gujarat. These MLAs were -- Shankersinh Vaghela and his son Mahendrasinh, C K Raulji, Raghavjee Patel, Bholabhai Gohel, Amit Chaudhary, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Karamshi Patel. Besides, six Congress MLAs had resigned last month, ahead of the election to the Upper House of Parliament.
Of them, Balwantsinh Rajput, Tejashreeben Patel and Prahlad Patel joined the ruling party, while Ramsinh Parmar, Chhanabhai Chaudhary and Mansinh Chauhan were yet to take any decision on their future course of action. The BJP had fielded Rajput as its third candidate in the Rajya Sabha poll, in a bid to defeat Congress nominee Ahmed Patel, but he lost, despite cross-voting by the Congress MLAs. Talking to reporters in Gandhinagar today, Shankersinh Vaghela said the BJP "will take care" of the MLAs who cross- voted, adding that he himself would not join the saffron party. "Though I voted for the BJP (in the RS poll), I am not joining it. The other MLAs, who voted for the BJP, can join the party. The Congress need not worry about them now. Since they voted for the BJP, the saffron party will take care of them," Vaghela said.
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