Congress fields Gaurav Pandya and Chandrikaben as its candidate for Gujarat Rajya Sabha bye-poll

Gandhinagar: Congress today fielded Gaurav Pandya and former MLA Chandrikaben Chudasama as its candidates for the bye-poll on two Rajyasabha seats of Gujarat slated for July 5.

The party candidates filed papers in the last moments and soon after external Affairs minister S.Jaishankar and Jugalji Thakor (Lokhandwala) today filed nominations as ruling BJP candidate for the bye-polls.

The seats went vacant following resignations of union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani. Both offered their resignations after their election to Lok Sabha in recently concluded general election.

State Congress president Amit Chavda, former presidents Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel were also present on the occasion in the chamber of Returning officer cum deputy secretary of Gujarat Legislature secretariat C B Pandya.

The two Congress candidates have filed the nomination on a day when the Supreme Court has refused to interfere in the election on the Congress plea objecting to holding the two election on the same date but separately.

The bye-elections would be held separately (ie each MLA can cast separate votes) but simultaneously on July 5.

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 on Jun 17 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.

Looking at the arithmetic of the state assembly ruling BJP is almost 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.

Chavda later said that the party has accepted the apex court decision and would later approach the court with an election petition to save the democracy and the constitution.


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