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Congress moves SC over separate bypolls to 2 Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat

The poll watchdog had on Saturday said that bypolls to six Rajya Sabha seats, including two in Gujarat — vacated by Union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani — will be held on July 5.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2019 07:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gujarat Congress,Supreme Court,Election Commission
BJP National President Amit Shah during a roadshow in support of party's candidate from Amethi seat Smriti Irani for Lok Sabha polls, in Amethi, Saturday, May 4, 2019.(PTI file photo)

The Gujarat Congress on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging an Election Commission notification to hold separate bypolls to two Gujarat Rajya Sabha seats.

The poll watchdog had on Saturday said that bypolls to six Rajya Sabha seats, including two in Gujarat — vacated by Union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani — will be held on July 5.

While Shah was elected to the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar, Irani won from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, once considered a Gandhi family bastion.

The poll body in its notification says, “It is further clarified that the vacancies for bye-elections to all Houses, including the Rajya Sabha, are considered as separate vacancies and separate notifications are issued and separate poll is taken for each of the vacan cies although the programme schedule for the bye-elections may be common. This is in conformity with the provisions of Section 147 to 151 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and has been the consistent practice of the Commission in such cases.”

But this notification has been challenged by the Gujarat Congress, which sees a chance of winning one Rajya Sabha seat if the election to both the seats are held together.

In its petition, the Gujarat Congress alleges that the poll body by notifying separate elections has adopted a new method of conducting elections and is acting under pressure.

Amit Chavda, president, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, said, “The commission was working under pressure of the government. If elections to both Rajya Sabha seats are held together, according to the norm, BJP will win one seat and the Congress one. Elections to both these seats were held together in 2017, so what is the need to hold two separate polls now?”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not comment on the matter.

In the 182-member House in Gujarat Assembly, BJP has 100 members and the Opposition-led by Congress 75 members, while seven seats are vacant.

First Published: Jun 18, 2019 07:35 IST