Clos­ing Hours for Gu­jarat RS Polls & it’s Still too Close to Call

An­a­lysts be­lieve the con­test has as­sumed a “win­ner takes all” pro­por­tion

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Gand­hi­na­gar: Rarely do Ra­jya Sabha elec­tions cre­ate any ex­cite­ment, but a day be­fore Gu­jarat leg­is­la­tors choose three can­di­dates to the Up­per House, an­a­lysts, spec­u­la­tors and pun­ters are still un­sure if Congress leader Ahmed Pa­tel would be one of them. While BJP has is­sued a state­ment claim­ing vic­tory for all three of its can­di­dates — Shah, Sm­riti Irani and Bal­wantsinh Ra­jput, who is one of the leg­is­la­tors who left Congress to join BJP last month — Pa­tel has claimed that he has the req­ui­site sup­port and more to go to the Up­per House for a fifth term.

Pa­tel re­ceived 44 Congress MLAs who were camp­ing at a re­sort in the out­skirts of Ben­galuru at the air­port in the wee hours on Mon­day and send the flock to the con­fine- ments of rel­a­tive safety of yet an­other re­sort some 82 km away from Ahmedabad.

Shah has held a se­ries of meet­ings with his party men since ar­riv­ing in Ahmed­abadon Sun­day both in his house and in BJP head­quar­ters in­Gand­hi­na­garonMon­day.IfPa­tel loses, that would be a hu­mil­i­a­tion for the Congress and a prob­a­ble rout of the party in en­su­ing Gu­jarat elec­tion later this year. How­ever, if he wins, that could be a set­back for Shah’s ‘Chankaya’ im­age. Af t er si x of it s MLAs quit , Cong ress now i s lef t wit h 51 MLAs (read votes). While prima fa­cie the num­ber is more than suf­fi­cient for Pa­tel, at least 7 of these votes are doubt­ful. They in­clude those of se­nior leader S h a n ke r s i n h Va g h e l a , who par ted wit h Congress on his 77t hbi r t hday last month, his son Ma­hen­drasi n h Vaghel a, and Bho­lab­hai Go­hil, CK Raolji, Raghavji Pa­tel, Dhar­men­dras­inh Jadeja and Amit Chaud­hary, all vo­cal sup­port­ers of Vaghela.

Also, Sharad Pawar’s Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party, which has two votes, has not yet come out with its de­ci­sion though Pa­tel on Mon­day claimed sup­port of NCP mem­bers as well as a lone Janata Dal (United) mem­ber.How­ever, later in the day, Ku­tiyana NCP MLA Kand­hal Jadeja told the me­dia that he has been in­structed by Pra­ful Pa­tel that NCP in Gu­jarat should vote for BJP. When con­tacted NCP Gu­jaratin-charge Ra­jen­dra Jain in­ter­est­ingly said that no such whip has been is­sued so far and for­mal in­struc­tion in this re­gard is ex­pected late in the night. NCP leader Pra­ful Patel­had on Sun­day said Congress had ditched the party in 2012 Gu­jarat elec­tions and that his party was now try­ing to stand on its own feet in the state.

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