Amid protest by Congress, EC issues notification for bye-polls on two Gujarat RS seats vacated by Shah and Irani

Gandhinagar: The election commission today issued notifications for separate by-elections on the same day for the two Rajya-sabha seats in Gujarat which have been left vacant due to resignations of union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani due to their election to the lower house of the parliament in the recent Loksabha polls.

According to the notifications issued by Returning Officer (for both the bye polls) C B Pandya, nominations could be filed till June 25 from today. The scrutiny of papers would be done on June 26 while the names could be withdrawn till June 28.

The bye-elections would be held separately (ie each MLA can cast separate votes) but simultaneously on July 5 if the need arose, the notification said.

Notably, the commission had announced the poll on June 15 after which Congress opposed it for the bye-polls being held separately. It had approached the Supreme Court yesterday demanding simultaneous bye-polls (ie one MLA can cast vote for either of the candidate rather than current provision of one can cast separate votes for the two seats).

The EC has clarified that as each vacancy is considered a separate one, hence the bye-polls were being held separately even though on the same date.

If the bye-polls were held separately, BJP was certain to retain both the seats. Both Shah and Irani had won in the Rajyasabha polls held in August 2017 when elections were held simultaneously on the 3 seats of Gujarat quota. In a nail-biting finish Congress leader Ahmed Patel had won the third seat with a close margin.