In a jolt to the Congress, two party leaders admitted that they have voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections. The two Congress leaders Raghavji Patel and Dharmendra Jadeja voted for BJP’s Balwantsinh Rajput. “I have voted for Balwantsinh Rajput. I want to stay in politics but not in Congress. There are only two parties in Gujarat – Congress and BJP. If I’m not with Congress, this is understood where will I be,” Raghavji Patel said making his intentions clear.
The other Congress leader Jadeja said that he voted for BJP as Congress was not paying heed to them.”Congress hadn’t been listening to us for a year. We have voted for Balwantsinh Rajput,” Jadeja said. The voting for the crucial Rajya Sabha polls for three seats begun at 9 a.m. will continue till 4 p.m. The counting will commence at 5 p.m.
Adding to Ahmed Patel’s misery, former grand old party leader Shankersinh Vaghela said that he did not cast his vote for the Congress candidate. “When we know that Congress will not win then there is no point of voting in favour of them. I didn’t cast my vote for Ahmed Patel,” Vaghela said. Meanwhile Patel expressed confidence and said, “I am confident, party is confident we are going to win. Wait for the result to come.”
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 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.
Meanwhile, the win of two of the three BJP candidates party president Amit Shah and Smriti Irani was almost certain, while the fate of the third party candidate Balwantsinh Rajput who joined BJP after resigning from Congress was hanging in balance along with the sole Congress candidate Ahmed Patel. 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. While, Congress has 51 MLAs along with seven of Shankarinh Vaghela’s camp. NCP has two and JD(U) has one MLA in the house.