CM Vijay Rupani after his arrival at Vidhan Sabha, Gandhinagar and checking preventive arrangement for voting amid COVID-19
The Bharatiya Janata Party has won three seats and one seat went to Congress in the Rajya Sabha polls for four seats in Gujarat on June 19. BJP’s Narhari Amin, Ramilaben Bara and Abhay Bhardwaj and Congress’s Shaktisinh Gohil won while Congress’s Bharatsinh Solanki lost.
The counting was delayed by four hours after Congress moved the Election Commission of India urging it to cancel the votes of two BJP MLAs – Bhupendrasinh Chudasma and Kesarsinh Jesangbhai Solanki. The party urged that Chudasma’s election was quashed by the Gujarat High Court and Kesarsinh cast his vote through a proxy hence both their votes should be annulled.
Reportedly, Kesarsinh Solanki, BJP MLA from Matar had been sick and reached the polling booth directly from hospital in an ambulance.
Five candidates BJP’s Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin and Congress’s party veterans Bharatsinh Solanki and Shaktisinh Gohil were in the fray for the four seats that fell vacant after the terms of three Members of Parliament from BJP Chunibhai Patel from Junagadh constituency, Shambhuprasad Tundiya from Ahmedabad, Lalsinh Vadodiya from Anand, and Madhusudhan Mistry from Congress ended on April 9.
Polling for Rajya Sabha election for four seats in Gujarat began amid a tight contest between Congress and BJP as none of the two parties had absolute numbers for victory of all its candidates.
Also read: MP: BJP, Congress to Compete for 3 Rajya Sabha Seats on June 19
The Rajya Sabha election were initially to be held on March 26 and were postponed to June 19 due to COVID-19 pandemic. Noticeably, political activities picked up pace in Gujarat with approaching polls as three Congress MLAs resigned in the last few days adding to the resignations witnessed in March this year.
Gujarat Assembly has a strength of 182 out of which 10 seats are vacant owing to resignation of eight Congress MLAs and two court cases. However, 170 of 172 MLAs cast their votes with two Bharatiya Tribal Party MLAs refraining from voting.
Father son duo Chotubhai Vasava and Mahesh Vasava of BTP who, though traditionally Congress supporters, had not been clear until last moment of commencement of voting for Rajya Sabha polls. The two BTP MLAs declared that they would refrain from voting despite both BJP and Congress approaching them to reconsider their decision.
“My father and I have decided not to cast our votes until we get an assurance about the implementation of Schedule 5 of the Constitution and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) - PESA Act. Although our votes are important but people whom we represent are more important to us,” Mahesh Vasava told the media.
The Congress currently has 65 MLAs in the 182 member Gujarat Assembly after losing 12 MLAs since state election in 2017 and BJP has 103 MLAs, one NCP MLA, one independent and two MLAs of Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP).
The NCP had been ally of Congress earlier but its lone MLA in Gujarat Kandhal Jadeja who has multiple criminal cases pending against him chose to side with the BJP ahead of polls despite party whip. Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani supported Congress as the party had supported him to win Assembly election from Vadgam constituency in 2017.
Earlier this month, Congress had made it clear in an announcement that Shaktisinh Gohil will be the party’s first choice in case the numbers did not add up for both candidates to win the polls.
A candidate needed 35 votes to win the Rajya Sabha polls and with Congress left with 65 MLAs, the party chose that first 35 votes will go to Shaktisinh Gohil leaving Bahartsinh Solanki with 30 votes.