EC becomes battleground for Congress, BJP

EC becomes battleground for Congress, BJP

The Congress MLAs from Gujarat who were camping in Bengaluru ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, returned on Monday and were taken to a resort in the neighbouring Anand district, party leaders said.

"Out of our 44 MLAs we accept that one of them has cross-voted, but one of National Congress Party and one of Janata Dal United or JDU has given us support", he claimed". However, one NCP MLA, Kandhal Jadeja, touched the feet of BJP chief Amit Shah when he arrived to vote and exercised his franchise for the BJP.

The counting of votes has been delayed after the Congress filed a complaint with the Election Commission alleging that two of its legislators voted for the BJP and showed their votes to an agent of the BJP - a violation of election norms. Of these, seven, including former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, did not join the 44 MLAs the Congress had packed off to a resort on Bengaluru outskirts. Six MLAs of the Congress have already resigned from the House and have joined the BJP in the House of 182.

The Congress has the strength of 51 in the House but it can not bank upon the seven MLAs who refused to go to Bengaluru.

He also said his relations with Congress leader Ahmed Patel were "very cordial". On the other hand, the BJP has 122 MLAs and both Shah and Irani are expected to win hands down.

As the counting votes began in Ahmedabad, the Congress contended that two of its MLAs - Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavjibhai Patel - had violated election rules by disclosing to the BJP prior to exercising their franchise.

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What if the BJP candidate wins against Patel? Patel is also the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

When questioned about the support of the six MLAs who were not taken to Bengaluru and have not been brought to the resort in Gujarat, Modhwadia said, "They are still part of the Congress and we are hoping that they would vote in favour of the party".

The 67-year-old politician is the political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and was credited with playing a major role in the party's victory in the 2004 and 2009 General Elections. "Thus, I have not given my vote to Ahmed Patel", he said.

Vaghela, who parted ways with the Congress recently, has kept the party on tenterhooks refusing to pledge his vote to anyone. BJP chief Amit Shah who will be making his debut in Rajya Sabha and Union minister Smriti Irani are placed to easily win two. That's why there is no chance of the Congress Party winning this seat. Meanwhile, for the third seat, it is still short of 14 votes which seems like an uphill task in the current political scenario in the state. While BJP has 61 BJP MLAs to cast a vote.

The Gujarat Assembly today voted to fill Gujarat's three Rajya Sabha seats. This would mean a contestant has to muster 45 votes.

The MLAs have to give their preferential votes indicating first choice, second, third, fourth (as per number of candidates) or they can choose NOTA, they said.

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