Ahmed Patel Vs Amit Shah in Gujarat RS battle

AHMEDABAD: In Gujarat, the voting for the crucial Rajya Sabha elections on three seats would be held from 9a.m. to 4p.m. on Tesday.

The counting will be held from 5 p.m., an hour after the end of polling.

Gujarat Assembly Secretary D M Patel, who is also the returning officer for the Rajya Sabha election said that after the resignation of six Congress MLAs, there are total 176 MLAs eligible to vote.

The state has been witnessing political upheaval in the recent past. The political temperature in the state had risen when six Congress MLAs joined BJP. The Congress accused BJP of horse-trading and sent its 44 MLAs from Gujarat to Bengaluru since on July 29 to prevent their possible poaching by the ruling BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections returned to the state on Monday.

The election has been necessitated following the completion of the tenures of three existing members union minister Smriti Irani and Dilip Pandya of BJP and Ahmed Patel of Congress.

Congress needs the support of 45 MLAs for victory of Patel who is contesting for his fifth term for the upper house.

In 182 member assembly, BJP has 122 seats including dissident Nalin Kotadiya.

Congress has 51 MLAs along with 7 of Shankarinh Vaghela’s camp. Earlier in the day, Ahmed Patel said that the NCP is extending its support to him. However, but the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Kandhal Jadeja on Monday announced it will support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.

Lone JD-U MLA Chhotubhai Vasava has also extended his support to Patel’s candidature.

BJP chief Amit Shah and Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani are contesting the other two seats, which the BJP is sure to win. The party fielded Congress defector Balwantsinh Rajput as the third candidate in its bid to defeat Patel.

“As all of us are united. The BJP cannot threaten any of our MLAs. Horse trading is not possible with those who are with us,” party’s lawmaker Shaktisinh Gohil told reporters earlier.

In New Delhi, the Congress expressed confidence of Ahmed Patel’s win, despite the BJP’s attempts to lure MLAs through money, power and threats.

“BJP, by adopting cheap methods, is conspiring to turn minority votes into majority in Gujarat,” the Congress said.

“They can make all attempts to insult the people’s mandate… But we are confident that Ahmed Patel is going to be victorious…,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala while briefing reporters.

“People have rejected them. It will be proven in the assembly elections. BJP is worried about the loss in Gujarat, therefore they are trying their best to further lower the level of politics.

“However much they (BJP) try to conspire, Congress will walk the path of truth and will win,” he added.

Gujarat has seldom experienced political suspense since 1995 when the first BJP government came to power, and after Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has fortified the state like a fiefdom. All the 26 Lok Sabha candidates in the state are from Modi’s party.

With agencies inputs