Updated: January 22, 2020 1:16:43 am
Gujarat is set to witness the election of four Rajya Sabha seats by April this year, as the terms of the four seats expire on April 9. While the ruling BJP currently holds three of the four seats, one of them is held by Congress.
The three BJP MPs whose term will end include Chunibhai Gohel from Junagadh district, Shambhuprasad Tundiya from Ahmedabad and Lalsinh Vadodia from Anand district. Meanwhile, Madhusudan Mistry is the Congress MP who will retire on April 9.
Of the total 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, BJP currently has 103 seats, whereas Congress has 73 seats. Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) has 2 seats, whereas Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has one seat. One seat is of an independent and two seats are vacant. As per the rules of Rajya Sabha elections, BJP can win two of the four seats with its 103 MLAs. Meanwhile, Opposition Congress is likely to win the other two seats with 73 seats. BJP can retain its current three seats only if there are defections from the Opposition.
The impending elections remind one of the hotly contested 2017 Rajya Sabha elections, when top Congress leader Ahmed Patel was one of the four contestants for three seats and a number of Congress MLAs had joined the BJP. Patel had won the election by a whisker after the Election Commission had disqualified the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs.
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The three other contestants were then BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Balvansinh Rajput, who had rebelled against Congress and joined BJP just before the elections. Eventually, Shah, Irani and Patel had won the election while Rajput lost it.
With reference to the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections, Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “We have numbers to get two seats and we will get it. Currently, BJP has three of the four seats, but we will snatch one from them.”
Doshi ruled out the possibility of any defection from the party and said, “Everybody knows now that the public turned down the turncoats in the last by-elections, whether it was Radhanpur or Bayad.”
Congress MLAs Alpesh Thakor from Radhanpur and Dhavalsinh Zala from Bayad had quit Congress and joined BJP. They then contested the by-elections of the two seats —Radhanpur and Bayad — as BJP candidates, but lost to Congress candidates Raghu Desai and Jashu Patel respectively.
BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said that he could not comment on the Rajya Sabha elections as they are very far. He added that he could comment on it only after the notification for the elections is out. He, however, also claimed that there is lot of dissatisfaction among Congress MLAs over various issues.
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