Amit Shah fields Rajput as BJP's 3rd candidate

by Garry Watts July 29, 2017, 0:12
Amit Shah fields Rajput as BJP's 3rd candidate

The development came a day after three Congress MLAs quit the grand old party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Rajput will file his nomination on Friday, the last date of filing nomination.

As BJP chief Amit Shah filed his nomination this morning for next week's Rajya Sabha elections, the Gujarat Congress continues to bleed with two more legislators quitting the party.

The spate of resignations was triggered by Congress veteran Shankersinh Vaghela's exit from the party.

Stating that the party is keeping all options open, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi warned the MLAs of serious consequences of the anti-defection law that can lead to disqualification from contesting elections up to six years. On Thursday, Balwantsinh Rajput, Chief Whip of Congress, Tejshree Patel and P.I.Patel resigned as Congress MLAs and joined BJP.

Currently, Shah is an MLA from Gujarat's Naranpura constituency. The issue also rocked the Rajya Sabha, which witnessed repeated adjournments as angry Congress members accused the BJP of "stealing" party lawmakers. A relative of Vaghela, he is the chairman and managing director of Gokul Refoils and Solvents Ltd, a leading edible oil manufacturing company and was one of the richest MLAs elected in 2012 with assets worth Rs269 crore. However, cross-voting could alter the equation against him.

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It is for the third seat that it has named Balwantsinh Rajput to contest against Ahmed Patel, hoping for a repeat of last week when about 11 Congress MLAs loyal to Mr Vaghela voted for Ram Nath Kovind as President of India instead of Meira Kumar, the nominee of the Congress and 17 other opposition parties.

Should they do so, Patel is expected to lose the RS election. However with JD (U) joining hands with BJP in Bihar, things might change in Gujarat as well. As the Congress members trooped into the Well and started shouting slogans, Naqvi took potshots at the main opposition party saying they would also demand a direction to the Surpreme Court as several of their members are involved in "corruption" cases. Rajya Sabha is not the place to protest.

As many as 36 MLAs (out of 57) had in April urged the central leadership to declare Vaghela as the CM candidate. Mathur is extremely close to Modi as also to the RSS, and at one point the party and the extended parivar was said to be contemplating replacing Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje with Mathur.

The Congress party in Gujarat on Friday suffered a major blow as four more MLAs quit the party, taking the total number who have resigned in two days to seven.


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