Gujarat Rajya Sabha Polls: BJP eager to avenge 2017 humiliation
Ahmedabad, June 05: Crisis has gripped opposition Congress in Gujarat, with three of its MLAs resigning ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha elections, slated to be held on June 19.
On Thursday, three MLAs from the Congress tendered their resignation, giving BJP an upper hand. The Congress MLAs who resigned are Karjan MLA Akshay Patel, Karparda MLA Jeetu Chaudhary and its MLA Brijesh Merja on Friday resigned from the Assembly membership, becoming the third legislator of the opposition party to quit this week.
While the Congress has fielded its senior leaders Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki, the ruling BJP has nominated Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin as its candidates for the polls, in which MLAs will vote.
In March, when Rajya Sabha polls were announced, five Congress MLAs had resigned. With every drop in the MLA count, the Congress' chances of winning the second Rajya Sabha seat are fast diminishing.
The grand old party may now find it extremely difficult to win more than one of the state's four seats due for voting. To win a Rajya Sabha seat, any candidate in Gujarat needs at least 34 MLAs.
With rebellion brewing within the Congress, the opposition BJP is in for revenge against the Congress party.
The 2017 political drama
In 2017, when Sonia Gandhi's confidant Ahmed Patel had contested Rajya Sabha elections, the Congress faced a similar crisis as it fought hard to retain his Rajya Sabha seat after 13 MLAs resigned.
The party had moved its MLAs to Karnataka, then ruled by its party. However, it could not prevent cross-voting. Patel had managed to win the polls by a slender margin.
He needed 44 votes to win and he got 44 in a win aided by the Election Commission holding the votes of two Congress rebels invalid for showing their ballot papers to the BJP's election agent.
In the 182-member Assembly, the BJP has 103 MLAs, while the Congress' count now stands at 65. While the Bharatiya Tribal Party has two MLAs, the Nationalist Congress Party has one legislator and there is one Independent legislator, Jignesh Mevani. 10 Assembly seats are vacant - two due to court cases and the rest because of resignations.