Rajya Sabha Elections 2017: Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat today have garnered much eyeballs as the state is witnessing contest for 3 seats of the upper House for the first time since 1996, according to Indian Express report. While BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Congress turncoat Balwantsinh Rajput, Congress has kept faith on its veteran leader and political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi Ahmed Patel. While Patel had exuded confidence that it will be a comfortable win for him, Congress was dealt a major blow as NCP had announced that it will vote for BJP candidates. BJP enjoys a clear majority in the Assembly and is hoping to win 3 out of 3 dismantaling Congress. The results will be crucial as assembly elections will be held later this. While BJP is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and Amit Shah’s organisational skill, Congress has accused the saffron party of poaching its MLAs. Notably, Six Congress MLAs had resigned before Rajya Sabha polls, and BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput was Congress chief whip.
Here is why every vote counts in Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls today
1. In the Assembly, BJP has 120. While Congress has 51, down from 57 after six of its MLAs resigned. NCP has two legislators. JD(U)- 1, Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) and JD(U) have one MLA respectively. There is one Independent legislator.
2. As per rules, each candidate needs 45 first-preference votes to get elected to Rajya Sabha.
3. With 120 MLAs, BJP has 30 votes to spare.
4. The Congress has 51 but is wary of cross-voting. Congress’ uncertainty began on July 21, when Leader of the Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela announced he was quitting the Congress. Six other Congress MLAs quit the assembly, bringing the Congress strength down from 57 to 51 — including Vaghela.
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5. Three of the six — Balwantsinh Rajput, Tejashree Patel and P I Patel — joined the BJP. The BJP then sprang a surprise by fielding Rajput as its third candidate. It can get him elected either by stacking up extra first-preference votes, or by depending on second-preference votes that come into play if first-preference votes fail to decide the winner, according to IE report.
In the election, the NOTA option will be open to the voters. The Congress had written to the Election Commission protesting the use of NOTA and had also moved the Supreme Court, which refused to stay the option. The BJP too had written to the EC citing a 2013 verdict of the Supreme Court to say that NOTA could be applied to Lok Sabha elections but not Rajya Sabha elections.