By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani
Ahmedabad: The stage is set for a fierce political battle over the four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having the advantage after the resignation of three Congress MLAs.
Strength of Congress in Assembly
The Congress strength in the 182-member Assembly has come down to 65 from 77 Ten seats are vacant.
Rajeev Satav, party in-charge in Gujarat, told Siyasat.net that , “We hope to win the second seat. As per our calculation, we need one more vote to sail through.”
But the equation is not that simple as the the BJP has fielded a fifth candidate. The BJP has 103 members in the Assembly.
According to a Congress insider, the BJP will need 3 more votes after each candidate receiving 35 votes. Congress needs 71 votes and its calculation depends on the votes of the NCP and other smaller parties.
Last time as the six Congress MLAs rebelled, the party had despatched legislators to Bengaluru. This time to keep the flock together, the MLAs have been sent to Rajasthan.
Candidate need 36 votes under STV system
As things stand, a candidate would need at least 36 votes under the single transferable vote (STV) system to get elected to the upper house of Parliament. The BJP has 103 MLAs in the Assembly and has nominated three candidates – Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara, and Narhari Amin – for the upcoming polls.
Given the numbers, the saffron party is certain to win two seats but would need the help of others to walk away with the third. On the other hand, Congress has fielded Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki in hopes of securing two seats. However, after the recent spate of resignations, it may find it tough to win the second. Other members in the Assembly include two MLAs of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), one Nationalist Congress Party MLA, and an Independent Jignesh Mewani.
With neither a credible leadership in the State nor at the Centre, the party is hurtling from crisis to crisis. At the Centre, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are a formidable force for the BJP, the Congress is groping with Rahul Gandhi poorly equipped to measure up to the challenge and mother Sonia fighting ill-ealth and out of touch with political reality.
(www.siyasat.net is Ahmedabad, Gujarat based website)