RS polls: 170 MLAs cast their votes in Gujarat, 2 BTP legislators skip voting
Two BTP MLAs - Chhotu Vasava and his son Mahesh - claimed they would not cast their votes until and unless they are given a written assurance about the welfare of tribals, migrants and Dalits. The BTP is an ally of the Congress Party in the coastal state.
The Rajya Sabha election drama continued until the last moment in Gujarat. On Friday, 170 of 172 MLAs eligible to vote turned up on the polling day. The Congress received yet another blow in this Rajya Sabha election. Two Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) legislators skipped the voting. The BTP is Congress’ ally in Gujarat.
The BTP MLAs stayed away from the voting process, demanding a written assurance about the welfare of tribals, migrants and Dalits. Voting for the four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat commenced at 9 am and ended at 4 pm.
The BJP fielded three candidates, and two candidates were in the fray from the Congress Party.
Apart from 103 members of the BJP, including Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, 65 members of Congress and one MLA of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) cast their ballots before 3 pm. The only independent MLA, Jignesh Mevani, also cast his vote.
In the morning, two BTP MLAs - Chhotu Vasava and his son Mahesh - claimed they would not cast their votes until and unless they are given a written assurance about the welfare of tribals, migrants and Dalits.
Talking to reporters, Mahesh Vasava said that he and his father would vote only if they get a written assurance about the implementation of schedule 5 of the Constitution and PESA Act in Gujarat.
"Despite repeated representation to both the parties in the past, nothing has been done for the welfare of ST, SC, OBC, minority and migrant workers. We will think about voting only after getting an assurance," Vasava said.
Although the leaders from the BJP and the Congress later met the Vasava duo separately and tried to convince them, the two MLAs refrained from voting.
By fielding three candidates in Gujarat, the BJP intensified the battle to the Upper House in the coastal state. Moreover, since the announcement of the RS polls in March, eight Congress MLAs had submitted their resignations to the Gujarat assembly speaker.
As per the numbers, each candidate required the support of 35 MLAs to win the seat. While the BJP has 103 MLAs, the Congress has 65, Bharatiya Tribal Party has two seats, NCP has one and one seat is held by independent MLA Jignesh Mewani.