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BJP may fish in troubled waters in Gujarat, announce RS candidates today

In what could be a massive shot in the arm for the BJP, the party is aiming to win all three Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat in the elections next month.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2017 08:54 IST
Kumar Uttam
The BJP is pulling out all the stops to win all three Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat  for which elections will be held on August 8.
The BJP is pulling out all the stops to win all three Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat for which elections will be held on August 8.(PTI FILE PHOTO)

The BJP plans to capitalise on the disquiet in the Congress in Gujarat to win the third Rajya Sabha seat in the western state on August 8.

Earlier this month, the election commission had notified election for 10 Rajya Sabha seats - 6 in West Bengal, 3 in Gujarat and 1 in Madhya Pradesh. The voting will take place on August 8.

The term of union minister Smriti Zubin Irani, Dilipbhai Pandya (both BJP) and Congress veteran Ahmed Patel expires on August 18.

The BJP is likely to field Irani again from Gujarat, but Pandya could be dropped. Given the trouble in Gujarat Congress, symbolised by the resignation by leader of opposition Shankar Singh Vaghela and cross voting by Congress MLAs during the recent presidential election, the BJP is hopeful that it can also win the third seat, currently held by Patel.

“The third seat will not go uncontested,” a BJP leader said. Party sources said the leadership was also open to the idea of supporting an independent candidate, if there is one. The BJP’s central election committee is meeting on Wednesday to decide its candidates.

Read more: Cross-voting sword hangs over Gujarat Congress in Rajya Sabha polls

The Congress has 57 MLAs in 182-member Gujarat assembly, and it needs support of 45 of them to win a Rajya Sabha seat. But, 11 Congress MLAs voted for NDA’s nominee Ramnath Kovind during the presidential election on July 17. The BJP will have 27 surplus votes after winning two seats.

If the BJP manages win all three Rajya Sabha seats, it will be a shot in the arm for the ruling party in Gujarat ahead of this year’s assembly election, party leaders said.

The BJP does not have numbers to win any seat in West Bengal, but it will win the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Madhya Pradesh, which fell vacant after the demise of environment minister Anil Madhav Dave.