Will Ahmed Patel win Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat: Here are the numbers
The big question for the Congress is whether its leader Ahmed Patel can enter the Rajya Sabha for the fifth time. Considered to be one of Sonia Gandhi's closest aide, Patel's defeat will be a major loss of face for the Congress.
Amidst a major exodus in Gujarat, the party has carted away its MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru. At least 6 MLAs of the Congress have quit in Gujarat bringing down the party's strength to 49 from 59.
The current strength of the Gujarat assembly has now come down to 176 from 182. To win the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8, each candidate would require 45 votes. Both Smriti Irani and Amit Shah of the BJP will sail through easily with the support of 121 MLAs.
The battle for the third seat would be keenly watched. The fight is between Balwantsinh Rajput of the BJP and Ahmed Patel. The BJP has 35 spare votes and Rajput would need 10 more votes to defeat Patel.
For the Congress preventing a further exodus would be crucial. If more MLAs quit the Congress in the coming days, then it would be impossible for Patel to win the elections.
While Patel is comfortably placed in terms of numbers, a further exodus could prove costly. The Congress is hoping that the two NCP, MLAs would vote for Patel. However the Congress also has in the back of its mind the cross voting by 11 party MLAs in the recently concluded Presidential elections.