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Sunday 5 July 2020

Gujarat Congress shakes as 5 MLAs resign; 14 sent to Jaipur

The INC is now worried about horse-trading in the 26 March election for four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat where the BJP is better poised for wins

Amid changing developments, 5 Gujarat Congress MLAs Praveen Maru, Mangal Gavit, Somabhai Patel, JV Kakadia and Pradyuman Jadeja resigned on Sunday. The Indian National Congress (INC) is worried about horse-trading in the 26 March election for four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat.

Earlier, the Gujarat Congress had sent 14 MLAs to Jaipur for fear of horse-trading. The party may send 36 more MLAs to Rajasthan. The first batch of 14 MLAs has been taken to a resort. They have been instructed not to operate their mobile phones. They cannot even meet their families or acquaintances.

The INC high command has asked Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot not to take any risk.

INC plans to keep all 73 MLAs ‘safe’

The 14 MLAs sent to Jaipur may be moved further to Udaipur. The other five MLAs will be taken to a resort within Gujarat where 15 to 18 MLAs will stay and participate in the proceedings of the assembly.

The 14 MLAs whom the Gujarat Congress sent to Rajasthan are

  1. Lakhabhai Bharwad (Veeramgam)
  2. Poonam Parmar (Sojitra)
  3. Jini Ben Thakur (Vav)
  4. Chandanji Thakor (Siddhpur)
  5. Ritvik Makwana (Chotila)
  6. Chirag Kalaria (Jamjodhpur)
  7. Baldev Thakur (Kalol)
  8. Nathabhai Patel (Dhanera)
  9. Himmat Singh Patel (Bapunagar)
  10. Indrajit Thakor (Mahudha)
  11. Rajesh Gohil (Dhanduka)
  12. Harshad Ribadia (Visavadar)
  13. Ajit Singh Chauhan (Balasinor) and
  14. Kanti Parmar (Thasra)

Both BJP and INC claim victory

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel had said on Friday that the Congress did not nominate the Patidar candidate. There is mutual factionalism in the party as well, which the BJP will benefit from. Patel hoped that the BJP would win all three seats.

On the other hand, Gujarat Congress leader Bharat Singh Solanki has said that the BJP will have to face a loss in the Rajya Sabha elections.

If the speaker accepts the resignation of the five Congress MLAs, the following will be the house arithmetic:

Seats in Gujarat Legislative Assembly = 180
Seats left after resignation of 5 MLAs = 175
BJP + (BJP 103+ 1 NCP + 2 Indian Tribal Party) = 106
Congress + (Congress 68 + 1 Jignesh Mevani) = 69
Seats of Rajya Sabha in Gujarat up for grabs = 4
No. of MLAs needed to win one Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat = 36

BJP favourites

The BJP has fielded Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramiva Ben Bara and Narhari Amin. The Gujarat Congress has fielded Shakti Singh Gohil and Bharat Singh Solanki.

First equation

BJP can win two and INC one seat easily.

Second equation

If two INC MLAs cross-vote, BJP will win three seats.

The BJP has 106 MLAs. To win three Rajya Sabha seats, it needs two more votes which will get him two cross-voting MLAs.

Third equation

Even if no MLA cross-votes, the BJP’s third candidate would have a total of 72 votes more than the 36 votes needed to win. These votes will be of the second preference.

The Congress candidate will have 36 votes with second preference. In such a situation, due to the high number of votes BJP has, its third candidate can win too.

Conditions like 2017

A similar situation was created during the election of 3 Rajya Sabha seats of Gujarat in 2017. The Congress had sent its MLAs to Karnataka to decide Ahmed Patel’s victory. Some MLAs also did cross-voting. However, Ahmed Patel prevailed.

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