Gandhinagar, Aug 8, 2017: Voting began at the Swarnim Sankul Bhawan of the Gujarat Assembly here on Tuesday morning for Rajya Sabha elections and continue till 4 pm. The counting of votes will start at 5 pm and the results are expected to be out by 6 pm.
MLAs will vote today to fill seats of 10 Rajya Sabha members, 9 among them are retiring this month.
Suspense mounted over the fate of Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, seeking a fifth term in the Rajya Sabha, with the BJP going all out to stymie his efforts in the biennial elections.
The 44 Congress MLAs, who were flown to Bengaluru to prevent “poaching” by the BJP, returned to the state on Monday.
Of the 57 party legislators in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, six quit the party on July 26 and three of them joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on July 28. Of the remaining 51 MLAs, seven, including Shankersinh Vaghela, did not join those who were flown to Bengaluru.
Patel, who needs 45 first preference votes in a House with an effective strength of 176 MLAs, expressed confidence that he will win the election with the support of 44 party MLAs, and the backing of two NCP and a lone JD-U member.
BJP chief Amit Shah and Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani are contesting the other two seats, which the BJP is sure to win. The party fielded Congress defector Balwantsinh Rajput as the third candidate in its bid to defeat Patel.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said “BJP can keep trying, but Ahmad Patel will win. Numbers will favor us. Sharad Pawar has already issued statement that they will vote for us.”
Just before voting begins, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “Given the support extended by the NCP, JD(U) and the fact that the Shankersinh Vaghela group will vote for Rajput, BJP’s all three candidates are set to win”.
Ahead of Rajya Sabha election voting, Gujarat Congress MLAs leave from Neejanand Resort in Anand showing victory sign.
BJP Candidates Smriti Irani and Amit Shah arrived at State Legislative Assembly few minutes before the voting began. CM Vijay Rupani also reaches the Assembly for the Rajya Sabha elections. Shankersinh Vaghela also arrived at Gujarat assembly for voting.
Preparations for Rajya Sabha polls in State Legislative Assembly in Gandhinagar.
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