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Congress MLAs sent outside Gujarat yet chances of Ahmed Patel winning RS polls slim

Sunday July 30, 2017 9:11 AM, & Agencies

Ahmed Patel

Though the Congress high command has sent 40 of its MLAs to Bengaluru to stop further defection ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled for August 08, chances of senior party leader Ahmed Patel's winning the all-important election seems almost impossible.

The Congress had 57 MLAs in Gujarat assembly. However six of the party legislators have resigned and joined the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) days before the Rajya Sabha election for which Ahmed Patel, senior Congress Party leader and close aide of party president Sonia Gandhi, has filed his nomination papers.

The BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah and Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani as its candidates.

Considering the strength of the two parties in Gujarat assembly, the BJP has numbers on its side to win 02 seats while the Congress has numbers to win 01.

However, the BJP has fielded a third candidate and the party president Amit Shah has openly declared that "all efforts" were being taken to ensure the victory of the party's all three candidates.

The BJP is short of a majority in Rajya Sabha - the parliament's upper house. Any increase in its tally here is what the BJP is trying hard ever since it came to power in 2014.

However, more than increasing its tally in Rajya Sabha, the BJP leadership intends to block Ahmed Patel's entry in the parliament - consecutive for fifth time since 1993.

The three-time Lok Sabha MP from Bharuch in South Gujarat Ahmed Patel who has been in Parliament since 1977, needs 47 of the total 182 votes to enter Indian Parliament's Upper House, and he had enough numbers in his favour at the time of filing nomination papers. The situation did not change even after six of the party MLAs resigned and joined the BJP.

But, what made the party jittery is the fact that 11 of its MLAs had voted for NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind during the presidential election. And, it is the fear of the cross-voting and to avoid any further desertion that the party decided to send its MLAs outside Gujarat.

However, if the reports coming from the BJP camp are any indication, all efforts by the Congress to save its senior leader from humiliating defeat will be futile as some other party MLAs have already decided to desert the party in its crucial time.

"When I met Ahmed bhai recently, I cautioned him about this situation and urged him not to contest polls, as I already saw this coming. I firmly believe the Congress cannot win the Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat," said Congress MLA from Jamnagar (Rural) seat Raghavjee Patel.

"Since there are only two main parties in Gujarat, the BJP is the only option for me if I leave the Congress. I have already had a word with BJP national president Amit Shah and state president Jitubhai Vaghani and conveyed my wish to join the party," said Raghavjee.

Another Congress MLA from Jamnagar, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, also indicated he would leave the party.

"A large number of Congress workers are unhappy with the way the party is functioning. Though I and Raghavjee had made numerous representations about it in the past, the party high command has not given any satisfactory answer. I will take appropriate decision in coming days," Raghavjee said.

"In the coming days, around 20 Congress MLAs would severe ties with the party. Thus, it will be impossible for Ahmed Patel to win the Rajya Sabha polls," Raghavjee told media persons yesterday.

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