Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls today: Direct fight between Cong, BJP over seats vacated by Shah, Irani
New Delhi, July 05: The stage is set for Rajya Sabha by-elections in Gujarat where the main opposition party is pitted against the ruling BJP in a straight fight.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and OBC leader Jugalji Thakur have been fielded by the BJP; while Congress' Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya are hoping to win the seats.
The seats in Gujarat fell vacant after BJP leaders Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha in May.
The Gujarat Congress has issued a whip, asking all its sitting MLAs to remain present Rajya Sabha bypolls and vote for the two party candidates in the fray.
Since elections on the two seats are being held separately, a candidate needs to garner a simple 50 per cent votes to win. In the present scenario, each candidate needs 88 votes to secure victory. The BJP has 100 MLAs in the 182 member House. Thus, it is expected to be smooth ride for both the BJP candidates S Jaishankar and Jugal Thakor.
Of the total 182 MLAs, 175 are qualified to exercise their franchise. The BJP's strength stands at 100, followed by 71 MLAs of the Congress.
Other MLAs eligible to cast their vote are two from the Bharatiya Tribal Party, one from the NCP and an Independent.
According to election officials, three MLAs will not be able to cast their vote in the bypolls as they were disqualified for various reasons in the recent past.
Also, four seats are lying vacant after their sitting MLAs resigned on getting elected to the Lok Sabha.