Gujarat Legislators To Start Returning Tomorrow From Bengaluru Hideaway

Gujarat Legislators To Start Returning Tomorrow From Bengaluru Hideaway

In a jolt to the Congress, two party leaders admitted that they have voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections.

However, Ahmed Patel is sure that he has enough support to win the upcoming elections with a major fraction belonging to the JD (U) and NCP. However, there seems to be some confusion amongst the party as an NCP leader last night gave the statement that the party chief has ordered them to vote for the BJP contestants, whereas Sharad said early on Tuesday morning that the party will be backing Congress.

Prior to the elections, Congress tried best to keep its flock together by flying 44 MLAs to a Bengaluru resort.

Before Vaghela broke ranks, the Congress had 57 MLAs in the 182-member House. The other six MLAs who did not join the 44 lawmakers in Bengaluru were his camp followers and were learnt to have voted for BJP.

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The Congress leader said that the BJP was panicking and was anxious about the result of the polls. "He (Nitish) should have convened a meeting", the lone JD (U) MLA in Gujarat told NDTV. BJP President Amit Shah and union minister Smriti Irani appeared set for an easy win.

Vaghela, who was the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly before he resigned, said he had known Patel for about four decades and their relationship was beyond political affiliations.

The elections seem to be a prestige battle for Congress and will also decide the political future of Patel, who also serves as a political adviser to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Vaghela's rebellion in the BJP in 1995 had split the party and brought down a government and ensured himself a chief ministership. However, it had just one instruction for its MLAs: be present.

The 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat who were kept in a luxurious hotel in Bengaluru after a series of defection of party workers before the Rajya Sabha polls, returned back to the state on Monday only to be shifted to yet another resort near Ahmedabad. That is the reason there is zero chance of the Congress Party winning this seat.

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A strong tribal leader of South Gujarat, Vasava said: "Mainey desh ke liye vote diya hain (I have voted for the country)".

Congress has demanded the cancellation of votes of two of its MLAs complaining that they showed their ballots to the BJP leaders Amit Shah and Smriti Irani and another candidate against election rules.

The Congress had whisked them away from the state for a "safer custody" after six of its MLAs deserted the party recently and three of them joined the BJP. "They can go to any extent".

If NCP MLA's claim comes true, it would be uphill task for Ahmed Patel to retain his seat for the fifth time.

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Polling for Rajya Sabha elections will be held tomorrow amidst tight security arrangements. His success would be a reflective triumph of the Sonia Gandhi genre of politics, and his defeat, if that happens, would usher in a new order in the life of the 132-year-old party. This would mean a contestant has to muster 45 votes.

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