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Gujarat RS poll: Chhotubhai Vasava to be kingmaker again in a close fight

"We have decided to fight it out instead of surrendering to the BJP’s naked politics of bribery and horse-trading", says Gujarat Congress BJP Amit Chavda.  

The votes tribal leader and senior legislator and his son Mahesh Vasava

With the Congress deciding to fight it out in the Rajya Sabha polls by retaining both its candidates in the fray, Gujarat’s tribal leader and senior legislator Chhotubhai Vasava and his legislator son Mahesh Vasava have emerged as the kingmakers in yet another nail-biting Rajya Sabha battle in the State.

There are five candidates in the contest for the four seats in the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled to be held on March 26: the BJP has fielded three candidates while two are from the Opposition Congress, which suffered a setback with five of its legislators resigning amidst allegations of bribery.

Read: Congress suffers Rajya Sabha setback in Gujarat as four MLAs resign

As of now, the Congress has 68 legislators while one independent Jignesh Mevani is expected to vote for the party, taking the likely tally to 69. However, to ensure victory of both its candidates, Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki, the Congress will need two more votes, which could only come from two legislators of Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) of Mr. Chhotubhai Vasava.

The BTP has two legislators: Mr. Chhotubhai Vasava and Mr. Mahesh Vasava.

‘Bribery and horse-trading’

“We have decided to fight it out instead of surrendering to the BJP’s naked politics of bribery and horse-trading. And we will manage to ensure victory of both our candidates,” said Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda.

Earlier, after the five legislators resigned from the Assembly in a blow to the party ahead of the election, there was a possibility that the Opposition party would withdraw one candidate from the race.

However, after deliberations with party lawmakers camping in Rajasthan and senior leaders, party observers B.K. Hariprasad and Rajni Patil apprised the party high command about the situation and eventually it was decided to stay in the race with both candidates as it was felt that there was a window of opportunity to pursue the father-son duo and sail through.

The Congress also tried in vain to get lone NCP MLA Kandhal Jadeja, who on Tuesday told mediapersons in the State capital that he would vote for the BJP candidate even if a whip asked him to vote for the Congress.

In 2017 also, when party stalwart Ahmed Patel was fighting the nail-biting Rajya Sabha contest when more than 15 legislators had split from the party, it was Mr. Chhotubhai Vasava’s vote, which had helped Mr. Patel snatch a victory.

Recently, when Congress lawmakers resigned from the Assembly, Mr. Chhotubhai Vasava on his social media posts had slammed the Congress lawmakers for allegedly taking ₹50 crore to sell out their seats to the ruling BJP.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 4:26:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gujarat-rs-poll-chhotubhai-vasava-to-be-kingmaker-again-in-a-close-fight/article31105325.ece

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