Rajya Sabha election 2020: Hit hard by defections, BJP’s fresh twist could leave Congress stumped

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Updated: Jun 04, 2020 1:38 PM

Rajya Sabha election 2020 latest news: Rajya Sabha polls: Polling to 18 Rajya Sabha seats in seven states will be held on June 19 and results will be declared on the same day.

rajya sabha seats, rajya sabha election 2020Two more Congress MLAs in Gujarat have resigned just ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls on June 19. (File pic. Representational)

Rajya Sabha election 2020 Gujarat: The Congress party has suffered a major blow in Gujarat just days ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections after at least two of its MLAs resigned. One more MLA is expected to resign soon, according to a report in The Indian Express.

The resignations will only hurt the Congress’ prospects of winning the second seat on June 19 when voting will take place to elect four Rajya Sabha MPs. Citing sources, the IE report said that Karjan MLA Akshay Patel has resigned and Kaprada MLA Jitu Chaudhary was not in touch with the party anymore. The Congress believes he too has resigned.

“Two I can confirm. Third we are trying to confirm,” a senior AICC leader said. “It was expected. It is Gujarat. If they (BJP) can do this sort of thing in other states….Gujarat is their home ground,” a party leader told the IE.

Of the four seats in Gujarat, both the BJP and Congress can win two each. But the BJP has fielded Narhari Amin, a former Congress politician, as its third candidate, giving a fresh twist to the battle. Besides Amin, the BJP has fielded Abhay Bharadwaj and Ramilaben Bara. The Congress, on the other hand, has fielded Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki.

The BJP expects that numbers are already in its favour and it will clinch one of the two seats from the Congress quota given that five of the opposition’s MLAs have resigned. The Gujarat Legislative Assembly has 182 seats and two seats are already vacant. Five Congress MLAs resigned earlier, two have resigned now and the third one is said to be on the way out. If the three more MLAs resign, the effective strength of the House will be reduced to 172 and the Congress will have 65 members.

The ruling BJP has 103 MLAs and there are two Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) MLAs, one NCP and an independent.

Each candidate needs the 37 first preferential votes each to win. Going by the current arithmetic, the BJP appears to be in a comfortable situation to stump the Congress and win three seats.

The BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is also expected to witness a close contest where the Congress government led by Kamal Nath collapsed in March following a mass resignation by its MLAs. The resignations by 22 MLAs, after its senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia switched over to the BJP, paved the way for the return of Shivraj Songh Chouhan at the helm of state affairs.

Both the BJP and Congress have announced two candidates each for the three seats. As per the state’s arithmetic, both the Congress and BJP are in a comfortable position to secure victory for one of their candidates. While Scindia and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh are expected to comfortably win in the polls, BJP’s Sumer Singh Solanki and Phool Singh Baraiya of the Congress are likely to slug it out for the third seat.

After the resignation of 22 MLAs, the Congress appears to be in a difficult situation to win the second seat. The BJP has an upper hand and will bag the third seat. In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly, 24 seats are vacant and a candidate needs to secure 52 votes to win. The BJP has the support of 112 MLAs of which 107 are its own. The Congress has 92 MLAs.

The Congress-ruled Rajasthan is also heading for a close battle where the ruling party has fielded KC Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi while BJP’ Rajendra Gehlot and OS Lakhawat are in the fray.

In the 200-member assembly, the Congress has 107 MLAs while BJP has 72. Independents and others are 21. To win one Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate needs 51 votes. In such a situation, the Congress can easily win two seats and BJP one. But the BJP has fielded a third candidate to create trouble for Congress.

Congress party’s only Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan is former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was elected unopposed in the Rajya Sabha bypolls last year after the seat fell vacant following the death of BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Madan Lal Saini.

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