Gujarat: Five Congress MLAs quit; party scrambles to hold flock together in the run up to Rajya Sabha polls

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on March 16, 2020 Published on March 16, 2020

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BJP confident of securing three of four seats as total strength of Assembly comes down to 175

A political drama is unfolding in Gujarat ahead of the elections to the four Rajya Sabha seats in the State.

In a new turn of events, five Congress MLAs have quit. This brings down the opposition party’s strength in the house to 68 giving a giving a shot in the arm to the ruling party, which can now look to secure three seats out of the four seats in the polls on March 26.

Congress MLAs including the representative from the Dangs, Mangal Gavit; Pradhymansinh Jadeja from Abdasa in Kutch; Soma Patel in Limdi; JV Kakadia from Dhari, Saurashtra; and Pravin Maru from Gadhada in Central Gujarat resigned, adding to the grand-old-party’s embarrasment after the recent exit of Jyotiraditya Scindia in Madhya Pradesh. Except for Maru, who resigned on Monday, the other four MLAs submitted their resignations to the Assembly Speaker on Sunday.

The Congress has initiated measures to keep its flock together.

It has also begun moving its legislators in batches to neighbouring Congress-ruled Rajasthan to prevent any more poaching and to keep them from being influenced to cross-vote.

The exit of five Congress MLAs from the house has brought down the total strength in the 182-member State assembly to 175. (including BJP’s 103, Bhartiya Tribal Party’s 2, Indian National Congress’ 68, NCP 1 and Independent 1 and two vacant seats).

The BJP had earlier nominated two candidates — Abhay Bharadwaj and Ramilaben Bara. However, later last week, it fielded former Congressman and now with BJP, Narhari Amin, as the third nominee for the three seats.

The Congress on the other hand was confident of winning two seats to the Rajya Sabha — one gain for the party — as it nominated heavyweights Bharatsinh Solanki and Shaktisinh Gohil from Gujarat.

But soon after the announcement of the third name for the four seat RS polls, five of the Congress MLAs quit from the house reducing the prospects for Congress to secure two seats with its reduced strength in the house. As per the vote calculations, a party needs 36 first-preference votes to secure one seat in the Rajya Sabha. Congress at its reduced 68 MLA strength can’t nominate two persons for Rajya Sabha. Independent MLA, Jignesh Mevani has announced his support to Congress, which would still not meet the requirements.

The BJP on the other hand, has 103 MLAs of its own with support of two from BTP and one from NCP, taking BJP’s tally to 106. It would still need cross-voting by five legislators to win the third seat, as it needs a total of 111 votes.

Published on March 16, 2020
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