The election for the four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat took a dramatic turn on Monday, the last day of the filing nominations, when the ruling BJP and Opposition Congress ended up fielding three candidates each, leading to a contest.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who accompanied the BJP’s third candidate Kiritsinh Rana during the filing of nomination, said that the party was fielding one more candidate as it felt that “cross-voting” by Congress MLAs will happen as they were “unhappy with the leadership.”
Earlier, both the parties had announced nominating two candidates — Union ministers Parsho-ttam Rupala and Mansukh Mand-aviya from the BJP, and Naran Rathwa and Amee Yagnik from the Congress. While the BJP with a strength of 99 legislators in the Assembly can send its two nominees, the Congress with a strength of 77 in the House can also send only two nominees. Each candidate requires votes of 38 MLAs.
On Monday, a high drama played out for five hours outside the office of Returning Officer A B Karova with rumours that Congress leader Rajeev Shukla will file nominations instead of former Union minister Naran Rathwa. While Rathwa filed his nomination at the last moment, a surprise was sprung by the party as Congress leader and former bureaucrat P K Valera declared he has filed nomination as an Indepen-dent as the party had learnt that BJP was fielding a third candidate.