Gujarat Rajya Sabha election: Why it's important for both BJP and Congress

Trevor Jackson
August 9, 2017

The Congress MLAs from Gujarat who were camping in Bengaluru ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, returned on Monday and were taken to a resort in the neighbouring Anand district, party leaders said.

Patel has been banking upon the "unflinching support" of the 44 MLAs, two of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and one of Janata Dal-United.

The 182-member Gujarat legislative assembly has 176 MLAs and each of the contenders need to score one-fourth of the total membership plus one vote, which makes it 45, to win.

Of the remaining 51 Congress MLAs, seven including veteran politician Shankersinh Vaghela didn't board flight to Bengaluru. Jayant Patel of NCP says that he has voted for Congress as per the direction issued by the party leadership. BJP President Amit Shah and union clergyman Smriti Irani seemed set for simple wins.

This is no respite for Patel as there is also a possibility that cross-voting might have happened and it is not an act that can lead to disqualification of votes.

The BJP leaders made a dash to the EC once again, claiming that the top Congress leaders were pressurising the poll authority.

He also added that "I have just got word that two NCP MLAs will also be voting for me".

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Congress leader Ahmed Patel, also the political adviser to party president Sonia Gandhi is seeking a fifth Rajya Sabha term, but according to Vaghela his chances of winning are bleak. His decision to not resign was seen as a move to block Patel's entry into the upper house which has somewhat become a matter a prestige for the grand old party and even Patel.

He further said that the party has requested the ECI to ensure their votes should not be counted and should be rejected.

A strong tribal leader of South Gujarat, Vasava said: "Mainey desh ke liye vote diya hain (I have voted for the country)".

Asked about allegations of surveillance on him and Congress MLAs by the ruling BJP, he said: "I don't know why I am targeted like this".

The MLAs of Gujarat Assembly will vote today to elect three Rajya Sabha MPs from the state.

Surjewala said the two legislators, instead of showing their ballots to party's election agent, displayed it to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani, which he said, "should not be accepted". NCP has two and JD (U) has one MLA in the house. With four candidates filing their nominations for the three RS seats from the State, there will be a contest for the RS polls in the State for the first time in over two decades.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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