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RS polls: Changed legislative math in Gujarat may play spoiler for BJP

As per the number of seats won in the Gujarat Assembly elections held in December last year, both the BJP and the Congress are poised to get two seats each to the Rajya Sabha

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

Winter session of Parliament to be held from 15 December

The ruling may have to part with two of its Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat due to change in the legislative arithmetic after last year's state polls.

The elections for 58 Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant across the country are slated to be held on March 23. Out of these seats, four are in Gujarat which are presently held by the

As per the number of seats won in the Gujarat Assembly elections held in December last year, both the and the are poised to get two seats each to the Upper House of Parliament.

In the state Assembly polls, the BJP's tally reduced to 99 in 2017 from 115 in 2012, while the managed to increase its numbers to 77 from the previous 60.

The dilemma for the will be to select two candidates, as out of the present four Rajya Sabha members, three are ministers –- Arun Jaitely, Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya -- and the fourth MP, Shankarbhai Vegad, is an OBC (other backward classes) leader.

"The has 99 MLAs, while the has 77 legislators in the state Assembly after the 2017 polls. As per the Rajya Sabha election rules, one candidate will require 38 votes to sail through. So both the parties are expected to win two seats each," a state Assembly official said.

The state general secretary, Nishit Vyas, said, "The party can definitely take away two Rajya Sabha seats from the due to the number of our We require 38 first preferential votes and we have the numbers for it." Sources in the said intense lobbying was going on within the party to secure Rajya Sabha berths.

"Gujarat president Bharatsinh Solanki, and leaders who lost the Assembly polls, like Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia, and are likely to be in fray for the seats," a party source said.

However, the source also said that the final decision regarding the candidates will be taken by the party high command in New Delhi.

For the BJP, the choice is likely to be difficult as it may get to retain only two ministers, and may possibly have to shift one of its ministers to another state, a party source said.

Finance minister Jaitely has been representing Gujarat in the Rajya Sabha for last three terms from 2000.

The BJP's chief whip in the Assembly, Pankaj Desai, said the selection of the candidates (for the Rajya Sabha polls) will be done by the party's central leadership.

In August last year, the and the had bitterly fought the For the then election to three seats, senior leader Ahmed Patel was one of the candidates.

About five to six had resigned prior to the election, while some legislators had cross-voted. The had to even take its to a resort near Bengaluru to avoid "poaching".

Patel later managed to retain his seat, with his victory being a morale booster for the party workers ahead of state Assembly polls held in December.

The candidates who had that time won the were party president and Union minister

First Published: Sun, March 04 2018. 19:46 IST