We are moving towards Congress-free Gujarat: BJP

We are moving towards Congress-free Gujarat: BJP”

After a month-long political drama involving defections, whisking away of 44 Congress MLAs from one resort to another and I-T raids, the stage looks all set for elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat on Tuesday.

These MLAs allegedly showed their votes to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani.

"I have voted for Ahmed Patel and performed my duty of being a loyal friend", Vasava said, adding that "he was opposed to the alignment with BJP". The Opposition party has accused the BJP government at the Centre of misusing central agencies to hound Congress MLAs from Gujarat and Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar, who hosted them at a resort near Bengaluru.

The Congress has objected to the "NOTA" option in the Rajya Sabha polls, which is being seen as a prestige battle for the party in Gujarat. The BJP, on the other hand, has stated that there was nothing personal, and if the Congress MLAs were deserting their party, it was because of their disillusionment with their leadership. Moreover, we have support of two Nationalist Congress Party legislators, one MLA each of JD (U) and Gujarat Parivartan Party.

The BJP has 122 seats including that of dissident Nalin Kotadiya. Asked if he will leave Congress, now, he said, "That is quite obvious".

Mr Gehlot accepted that all the seven MLAs of Mr Vaghela group, including Raghavji Patel and Dharmedrasinh Jadeja, have cross-voted.

The party MLA's assertion came as a major surprise as the NCP had throughout claimed it would back Ahmed Patel.

Voting for the high-stakes Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat will take place on Tuesday. The third BJP candidate, Rajput, will get 34 BJP votes and is banking on cross-voting from the Congress ranks for the remaining 10 votes.

The party also notched more than ever vote share in local bodies polls in Odisha, Kerala and West Bengal, states which Shah has marked out as it as the next potential growth regions for the party during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

By keeping the suspense alive over which way he and six rebel Congress MLAs him will vote, Vaghela has managed to keep the ball in his court till the very end. All 121 party MLAs would give him second-preference vote. The Gujarat Congress had sent its legislators to Bengaluru on July 29 to fend off what it called poaching efforts by the BJP.

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