In a major victory to the saffron party in PM Modi's home state of Gujarat, BJP has won both seats of Rajya Sabha by-polls on Friday after RC Faldu's vote had been disqualified, as per sources. This elects Union External affairs minister S Jaishankar and OBC leader Juglaji Thakor to the Rajya Sabha.
Earlier in the day, the voting for the bypolls to the two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat began at the Assembly complex in Gandhinagar. To face the BJP's Jaishankar and Tahkor, the Congress has nominated Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya.
Voting for the two seats, which began at 9 am, continued till 4 pm. The counting of votes commenced at 5 pm, with the victory evident around 7:30 pm. Since the election on the two seats is being held separately, a candidate needed to garner 50 % of the votes to win. In the present scenario, each candidate needs 88 votes to secure victory.
Earlier on Wednesday, in a major political drama, Congress party had moved its Gujarat MLAs to Mount Abu days ahead of Rajya Sabha elections.
Sources said that Congress party's 65 MLAs were taken to Hummingbird resort in Mount Abu and will not be allowed to contact anyone from there, not even their family members. On the day of the election, when they will be brought back they will directly cast their vote in the Vidhan Sabha before contacting anyone. The Congress MLAs left for Mount Abu from Ahmedabad in a bus on Wednesday. This was being done to avoid cross voting ahead Friday's Rajya Sabha elections.
Bypolls for the two seats from Gujarat were necessitated after Union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani resigned as Rajya Sabha members following their election to the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and Amethi constituencies respectively in May this year.
Given its strength in the 182-member Assembly, the BJP was predicted to win both the seats for which voting is being held separately as per the Election Commissions (EC) notification. Of the total 182 MLAs, 175 are qualified to exercise their franchise this time.
The BJP's strength stands at 100, followed by 71 MLAs of the Congress. Besides, two MLAs from the Bharatiya Tribal Party, one from the NCP and an independent legislator are also eligible to cast their votes. According to the election officials, three MLAs will not be able to cast their votes in the bypolls as they were disqualified for various reasons in the recent past. Four seats are lying vacant following the resignations of the MLAs from these constituencies after their election to the Lok Sabha.
(With PTI Inputs)