Rajya Sabha election on Tuesday; BJP’s 3 heavyweights in Gujarat


New Delhi:  As 10 Rajya Sabha members retire this month, political parties gear up for an intense political battle in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday to fill those vacancies.

While focus has mainly remained on the three Rajya Sabha vacancies in Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh will have six and one seats, respectively, to fill.

The Rajya Sabha election for three seats in Gujarat, where assembly polls are due later this year, is being closely watched as BJP national president Amit Shah will make his parliament debut, Union minister Smriti Irani has been renominated for another term and the Congress has put up its heavyweight Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who is seeking a fifth consecutive term.

The battle is set against the backdrop of dramatic political developments including the revolt in the Congress by veteran leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, resignation of half a dozen party legislators and shifting of 43 MLAs to a Bengaluru resort to protect them.

Patel needs 45 votes to win. His party at present has support of 44 legislators, who have returned to Gujrat after camping in a resort near Bengaluru for over a week.

Apart from Shah and Irani, the BJP has fielded Balwantsinh Rajput, who recently quit the Congress to join the ruling party. The Congress is expecting support from two NCP legislators and one each from JD (U) and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP). However, NCP leader Praful Patel on Saturday said his party had not yet decided on extending support to any particular party in these polls.

Before Vaghela broke ranks, the Congress had 57 MLAs in the 182-member House. Six of its legislators subsequently resigned bringing down the party’s tally to 51 and the effective strength of the house to 176.

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