BJP Con­fi­dent ‘Herded’ Cong MLAs May Not Vote for Their Party Can­di­date, Has Op­tion of Sec­ond Pref­er­ence Votes

There were re­ports BJP tried to get in touch with Cong MLAs who re­turned to the state on Mon­day

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: The BJP is very con­fi­dent that all three can­di­dates it has fielded for the Ra­jya Sabha elec­tions in Gu­jarat on Tues­day will be elected. Party pres­i­dent Amit Shah and tex­tile and I&B min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani are its first two can­di­dates. The BJP con­fi­dence stems from the fact that many of the Congress MLAs who had been taken to Ben­galuru to be pro­tected from ‘poach­ing’ may not vote for their party can­di­date. BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah is camp­ing i n Ahmedabad and met party MLAs on the eve of polling for the Up­per House of Par­lia­ment. He is said to be mon­i­tor­ing the whole ex­er­cise closely. BJP gen­eral sec­re­tary in-charge of Gu­jarat Bhu­pen­dra Ya­dav said “we are mov­ing to­wards a Congress-free Gu­jarat and all three can­di­dates of the party in the Ra­jya Sabha polls will win.” On pa­per, BJP has enough MLAs to elect only two MPs. How­ever, the party fielded Congress rebel who quit his post, Bal­wantsinh Ra­jput, as its third can­di­date, to de­feat Congress heavy­weight Ahmed Pa­tel who is seek­ing his fourth re-elec­tion to the Ra­jya Sabha from Gu­jarat.

Ra­jput’s re-elec­tion will de­pend on the num­ber of votes he se­cures from Congress rebels, apart from the votes of 31 BJP MLAs that the party can spare for him. In case nei­ther Pa­tel nor Ra­jput se­cures 4 5 votes re­quired to win, t he sec­ond pref­er­ence votes of BJP MLAs will come in handy to en­sure Ra­jput’s elec­tion. Six Congress MLAs who owe allegiance to rebel Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela had quit their mem­ber­ship of the Gu­jarat as­sem­bly re­cently, while Vaghela has quit the party but re­tains his House mem­ber­ship. Vaghela re­port­edly had a tele p h o n i c c o nve r s a t i o n wit h C on g r e s s c a nd id at e A h med Pa­tel on Mon­day morn­ing. For Pa­tel, who has been a mem­ber of ei­ther House of Par­lia­ment with­out a break since 1977, this elec­tion has be­come a pres­tige is­sue. Congress has al­leged that BJP was in­dulging in horse trad­ing to win over its MLAs. There were re­ports that BJP tried to get in touch with the Congress MLAs.

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