Balwantsinh Rajput, former Congress leader who recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set as BJP’s third candidate contesting for Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections which is scheduled to start at 9 AM today. On 28 July, Rajput along with two other Congress legislators resigned from the assembly and joined the saffron faction in the presence of party president Amit Shah and days later got a chance to file his nomination as BJP’s third candidate for election to Upper House of Indian Parliament. BJP in Gurajat has also fielded BJP chief Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani as the other two candidates. Exit of Rajput, in all likelihood, was a big jolt for the Congress who is betting on Ahmed Patel, the confidante and political advisor to party president Sonia Gandhi.
Here is all you need to know about Balwantsinh Rajput, the Congress turncoat who is now BJP’s third candidate to Rajya Sabha elections:
Rajput is an Indian politician from the state of Gujarat. He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2017 after leaving Indian National Congress before the Rajya Sabha election. During the Gujarat Assembly election of 2012, Rajput who belonged to the Congress party defeated Jay Narayan Vyas of the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Sidhpur seat.
The resignation of Rajput (who was also the chief whip) along with two other party legilators reduced Congress’ tally to 54 in the 182-seat assembly. The move came at a time when the Congress has fielded its senior leader Ahmed Patel as its candidate for the Upper House.
Rajput needs 45 votes to bag the seat in the Upper House and the aftermath hints that votes of several Congress former members will go in his favour. Former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela, his son and five other members might vote in favour of Rajput. Even the NCP has recently announced that it would back the BJP, so a little shuffle in votes for Rajput would sail him through.
According to a report by Dainik Jagran, Rajput who started his journey from selling tea and beetle nut in a handcart along with his father in Sidhpur, is now the owner of Gokul Group with assets worth Rs 254 crore.
According to Ahmedabad Mirror, Rajput was an ardent fan of the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and a Vidhan Sabha recording shows that Narendra Modi told the Gurajat Assembly that Rajput was one of the first politician in Gujarat who told him in 2005 that he wanted to see him (Modi) as the prime minister of India. PM Modi had made this comment at the special assembly session called on May 21, 2014 to mark his appointment as the prime minister, claims the website.