With elections to four Rajya Sabha seats underway in Gujarat, political activity in the State is set to intensify as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears determined to retain the three seats despite being short of numbers on its side.
Out of the four seats, currently, the BJP holds three, while one is with the Opposition Congress. The arithmetic suggests both the BJP and the Congress can get two seats each in the absence of voting, based on the number of legislators on both sides.
Unlikely to concede
However, the ruling BJP is unlikely to concede a seat to the Opposition party and will instead field a third candidate and try to split the Opposition party’s numbers to ensure its victory.
“As of now, Congress, with 73 legislators, can barely manage to send two candidates to Rajya Sabha, but even a minor defection of a few legislators can change that scenario,” a party leader said, adding there are already talks of a few legislators in touch with the BJP to either cross vote during voting or abstain from voting.
Neither party has so far declared any candidates for the four seats. The last day for the filing of nominations is March 13, while voting will be held on March 26.
From the Congress, Madhusudan Mistry is retiring from the Rajya Sabha after a six year term, while from the ruling BJP, three members are retiring — Shambhuprasad Tundia, Lalsinh Vadodia and Chunibhai Gohel.
According to Congress insiders, in case “proper candidates” are not selected by the party, there will be some defections during the voting for the Rajya Sabha.
Once nomination papers are filed, the Congress is likely to shift its legislators to neighbouring Rajasthan to prevent any attempt at poaching or horse-trading from the ruling party.
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