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Ahmed Patel to RS – the mother of all Rajya Sabha elections: what to expect

On Tuesday, 176 out of 182 MLAs of Gujarat, with 6 Congress MLAs having resigned to join the BJP a few days back, will vote for 3 Rajya Sabha seats up for reelection. For the 3 seats, there are 4 contenders. One of these seats is of Ahmed Patel, whose nervousness is palpable from the fact that Congress has gambled Gujarat (which goes for elections in November this year) to save Ahmed Patel’s seat.

After taking the 44 Congress MLAs to a luxury resort in Bengaluru just when Gujarat was inundated with floods, the 44 MLAs were brought back to Gujarat early on Monday. From Ahmedabad airport, they were transported to a luxury resort in Anand where they celebrated Rakshabandhan. On Tuesday, they will be brought directly from this resort to Gandhinagar to vote. As of now, strength of Congress MLAs has come down from 57 seats to 51 seats.

BJP has fielded Balwantsinh Rajput, former Chief Whip of Gujarat Congress in assembly against Ahmed Patel. The other two BJP candidates are Smriti Irani and BJP President Amit Shah, both heavyweights in their own way, whose victories are almost certain.

In a further turn of events, two NCP MLAs may also vote for Rajput (and not Patel) tomorrow.

If that was not enough of a blow to Ahmed Patel, Nalin Kotadia, lone MLA of the now disbanded GPP (Gujarat Parivartan Party) was seen with BJP leaders on the eve of Rajya Sabha elections. He was also one of the known faces in the Patidar agitation that shook Gujarat politics two years back.

Earlier today, in a Facebook post, Kotadia also sought “guidance” from Patidars on whom to vote for in today’s Rajya Sabha elections.

Meanwhile the speculations get more and more interesting with Supreme Court refusing to stay NOTA for Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat.

Gujarat is seeing voting for Rajya Sabha seats for the first time since 1996. Till now, all the Rajya Sabha elections were uncontested. Voting for the 3 high stake seats will begin today at 9 am and will end at 4 pm. The counting will begin at 5 pm, one hour after conclusion of voting.

As of now, the bus carrying 44 Congress MLAs has left the resort in Anand where they were kept since yesterday morning. The day is going to be quite eventful!

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Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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