RS polls: Gujarat BJP, Cong clear way for unanimous wins by withdrawing third nominations
Two candidates each from the ruling and opposition parties are in the fray for four seats. Each nominee will require 38 votes each to be elected from the 182-member state assembly.india Updated: Mar 15, 2018 18:50 IST
All the Rajya Sabha candidates from Gujarat are likely to be elected unanimously on March 23, with both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress withdrawing their third nominations on Thursday.
Now, two candidates each from the ruling and opposition parties are in the fray for four seats. Each nominee will require 38 votes each to be elected from the 182-member state assembly. While the BJP has 99 MLAs, the Congress lays claim to 77.
The BJP has repeated its two Union ministers for state – Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Manaviya – for election to the Upper House. The Congress, for its part, has fielded veteran tribal leader Naran Rathwa and high court lawyer Amee Yajnik.
While the BJP withdrew the nomination of former state minister Kiristsinh Rana, Congress leader PL Valera – who had filed as an independent – followed suit soon afterwards. Their nominations were filed after the BJP kicked up a row over the validity of Rathwa’s nomination March 13 – the last day of registration.
With the saffron party raising doubts over a no-dues certificate attached by Rathwa, the Congress decided to play it safe by fielding Valera as an independent. This prompted the BJP to field Rana as its own third candidate. Later, when the returning officer cleared Rathwa’s form, it moved the Election Commission in Delhi to demand rejection of his candidature.
The terms of four BJP Rajya Sabha MPs – Arun Jaitley, Rupala, Mandaviya and Shanker Vegad – will end this month. The party, however, could field only two candidates in the upcoming elections due to its reduced tally from 115 to 99 in the 2017 assembly elections. Jaitley will contest the elections to the Upper House from Uttar Pradesh this time.
The Congress, on the other hand, is at a comparative advantage. With its Gujarat assembly strength increasing from 61 to 77, it will be able to send two nominees to the Rajya Sabha for the first time since 1995.