Gujarat RS polls: BJP wins 3 seats, Congress gets one

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By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar, Vadodara | Published: June 20, 2020 1:25:27 am

Gujarat RS polls, Rajya Sabha election, Nitin Patel, Ahmedabad news, Gujarat news, Indian express news Making the results public, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said Bhardwaj and Bara got 36 votes each of first preference, while Amin got 32 votes of first preference and 35.98 votes of second preference, as per the rules of Rajya Sabha elections.

Elections to the four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat concluded on Friday with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning three seats and Opposition Congress emerging victorious on one seat.

The winning candidates are Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin of the BJP and Shaktisinh Gohil of the Congress. The other Congress candidate, Bharatsinh Solanki, failed to get the minimum 35 votes required to win.

Making the results public, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said Bhardwaj and Bara got 36 votes each of first preference, while Amin got 32 votes of first preference and 35.98 votes of second preference, as per the rules of Rajya Sabha elections. He also said that Bharatsinh Solanki could get 30 votes of first preference and 31.98 votes of second preference.

Patel also alleged that Congress’s attempts to delay the elections ended in the victory of all three BJP candidates.

Congress incharge for Gujarat, Rajeev Satav, said, “All the MLAs of INC Gujarat remained united and we won one Rajya Sabha seat despite BJP using money power and every illegal gimmick. It is sad to lose one seat but our struggle and efforts will continue.”

In the total 182 seats of the Gujarat assembly, current strength is 172, while 10 seats are vacant — 8 due to resignations of Congress MLAs and two due to court orders.

Polling began at 9 am with senior leaders of both the Congress and the BJP being present at the Assembly. Gujarat state incharge for both the parties — Bhupendra Yadav from BJP and Rajeev Satav from AICC — were also present.

Around 9.30 am, BJP MLA from Matar constituency, Kesrisinh Solanki, came in an ambulance, accompanied by BJP leader and former minister, Shankar Chaudhary, amid heavy police security. Chaudhary cast the vote on behalf of Solanki as his “companion”.

Later, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that Solanki had undergone an emergency surgery on Thursday.

Sole MLA of BJP’ alliance partner, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Kandhal Jadeja, said that he cast his vote as per the party whip. However, Congress leaders said that they got votes of its 65 MLAs and one vote of independent MLA Jignesh Mevani, indicating that Jadeja might have voted for the BJP.

However, two MLAs of Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) — Chhotubhai Vasava (Jhagadia constituency) and his son Mahesh (Dediapada constituency) — abstained from voting citing indifference of both Congress and BJP towards the tribal cause.

Counting of the votes could not begin till late evening with the Congress raising objections to the votes cast by BJP MLA Kesrisinh Solanki from Matar and cabinet minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, with the matter reported to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for resolution.

Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Amit Chavda who was also the party’s polling agent, raised doubts on Solanki being “sick” and needing a companion.

His party also objected to Chudasama’s participation in the election stating that the matter concerning his election in 2017 to Dholka assembly constituency was sub-judice in the Supreme Court. Gujarat High Court had struck down the election and the order stands stayed by the SC.

The Congress registered a complaint with the returning officer (RO) on these two votes that was sent to the ECI, and counting could not begin till it was settled. The RO and observer rejected the Congress objections, which was upheld by the ECI.

Of the 172 MLAs in the Assembly, 103 are from the BJP, including speaker Rajendra Trivedi, while 65 are from Congress, 1 from NCP, 1 Independent, and 2 from BTP.

Congress MLAs came to vote in 3-4 small groups. However, both the Congress candidates Gohil and Solanki left the assembly building housing the polling centre a few minutes after the polling ended at 4 pm. Gohil said BTP were “alliance partners” of the Congress party and they had expected BTP to vote for them.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was the first to exit the assembly building after the polling process concluded. He, however, returned to the assembly within an hour after the news of Congress filing objections became public.

Cong struggles to keep its flock since 2017

Since 2017, when the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat saw a photo finish, ensuring the win of Congress veteran Ahmed Patel, all subsequent elections to the Upper House in Gujarat have been preceded by defections in the Congress and herding of its MLAs to resorts. The 2020 elections were no different. In 2017, a number of Congress MLAs resigned favouring the BJP but Patel won by a single vote of alliance partner Chhotubhai Vasava. In 2019 also, two Congress MLAs cross-voted, making BJP win. This time, in spite of a bigger share of MLAs, the Congress could neither keep its flock together, nor ensure a single vote of any of its allies.

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