India

Cong gears up for showdown in Gujarat RS polls

New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) The stage is set for a fierce political battle over the four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having the advantage after the resignation of three Congress MLAs.

Congress senior spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the party couldn't stop anybody from resigning due to lacunae in law. But the BJP was using it in a mala fide manner to manufacture majority, he added.

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“The BJP is brazenly using power to reduce the strength of the Assembly,” Singhvi said.

The Congress strength in the 182-member Assembly has come down to 65 from 77 Ten seats are vacant.

Rajeev Satav, party in-charge in Gujarat, said, “We hope to win the second seat. As per our calculation, we need one more vote to sail through.”

But the equation is not that simple as the the BJP has fielded a fifth candidate. The BJP has 103 members in the Assembly.

According to a Congress insider, the BJP will need 3 more votes after each candidate receiving 35 votes. The Congress needs 71 votes and its calculation depends on the votes of the NCP and other smaller parties.

Last time as the six Congress MLAs rebelled, the party had despatched legislators to Bengaluru. This time to keep the flock together, the MLAs have been sent to Rajasthan.

In 2017, Ahmed Patel had snatched victory from the BJP's jaws after two votes of Congress rebels were declared invalid by the Election Commission as they were shown to the BJP election agent before casting.

Shakti Singh Gohil, the Congress election agent, had raised objections to the ballot paper being shown to the BJP agent. Gohil is also a candidate this time.

–IANS

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