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RS polls: Voting underway in Gujarat

Press Trust of India  |  Gandhinagar 

Voting is underway in today for the elections in which Ahmed Patel, the influential political secretary to chief Sonia Gandhi, and BJP's Amit Shah, Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput are in fray.

As voting began for three RS seats, Patel expressed confidence that he will win.

However, former stalwart Shankersinh Vaghela, after casting his vote, told reporters, "As Ahmed Patel is going to lose, I have not given my vote to him."

The elections have turned into a high-stake battle for the in the backdrop of turbulence in the party following the surprise exit of Vaghela and the resignation of six of its MLAs recently.

Patel requires 45 votes to sail through his fifth RS The Congress has a clear support of 44 MLAs.

Some MLAs of his group like Raghavji Patel and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja also came out and said that they have voted for the

A candidate will require 45 votes for a straight win in the poll, and the with 121 MLAs can secure easy victories for chief Shah and union minister Irani. The party will be left with 31 surplus votes for Rajput, who will require the backing of rebel MLAs of the Congress and smaller parties to win.

Rajput till recently was Congress' chief whip in the House.

It is after a gap of about two decades that a contest is happening in polls in Gujarat, where official nominees of major parties used to get elected unopposed, after the BJP fielded a Congress rebel against Patel, who is seeking a fifth term.

According to Commission officials, a candidate would require one-fourth of the total number of votes plus one to get elected. This would mean a contestant has to muster 45 votes.

The MLAs have to give their preferential votes indicating first choice, second, third, fourth (as per number of candidates) or they can choose NOTA, they said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, August 08 2017. 10:57 IST