On the eve of the crucial Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat, the BJP's state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav said all the three candidates of the party will win by a "very good margin". Hinting at the ongoing political manoeuvring and a seesawing number game, he said the BJP will get three more votes than the number required for all its three candidates to win. The election became high-profile after the entry of BJP national president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani in the fray. The BJP has fielded Balwantsinh Rajput, who till recently was Congress' chief whip in the Assembly, for the third seat against senior leader and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel. Shah, who is contesting his maiden Rajya Sabha poll, today presided over a meeting of the party MLAs where they were given a demo of how to vote correctly, so that no vote becomes invalid. Apart from all the 121 MLAs of the BJP, Yadav, Irani and Rajput attended the meeting. "The MLAs who will be voting tomorrow were given a presentation about the voting process," party spokesperson Bharat Pandya said. Emerging from the meeting, Yadav told the reporters that all the three candidates of the BJP will "win by a very good margin tomorrow". "We will get three more votes than what is required to make our three candidates win. Our mathematics is clear," he said and alleged that the Congress is keeping all its MLAs "hostage" ahead of the polls. "Congress has broken all limits of freedom of expression.
Their MLAs had gone to a Bengaluru resort by leaving people of their constituencies in the lurch during natural calamity (floods). Even after returning to Gujarat, the Congress is keeping its MLAs as hostages in such a manner that they could not even celebrate 'Raksha Bandhan' with their family members," Yadav said. All the 44 MLAs of the Congress returned here this morning from Bengaluru, and were taken to a resort in Anand district. The election has become a cliffhanger given the delicate number game and six MLAs, including Rajput, a relative of Vaghela, resigning from the Assembly, indicating a close contest for Patel. Three of the six MLAs, including Rajput, have joined the BJP. A candidate will need 45 votes for a straight win in the poll. The BJP, with 121 MLAs in the House, can easily get Shah and Irani elected. However, the party falls 14 short of the 45 votes required for Rajput's victory. Yadav's statement assumes significance given the numerical position of the Congress, whose current strength in the 182-member House was reduced to 51 from 57 due do the defections after the exit of the party stalwart Shankersingh Vaghela last month. While 44 MLAs of the Congress had gone to Bengaluru, the rest seven chose to stay back in Gujarat and have not opened their cards yet.
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