RS elections: Amit Shah, Smriti Irani, Balwantsinh Rajput file nomination papers

The BJP is pulling out all the stops to win all three Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat for which elections will be held on August 8

Balwantsinh Rajput, MLA from Siddhpur and Chief Whip of the party, Tejashree Patel from Viramgam, and Vijapur legislator P.I. Patel submitted their resignations to Speaker Ramanlal Vora on Thursday afternoon and later headed for the BJP headquarters, Kamalam, to join the party.

Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani are the other two BJP candidates for the August 8 RS elections.

A defeat for Ahmed Patel next week will not just be a blow to the morale of the party, but will also politically diminish the Congress and its first family the Gandhis further in Gujarat ahead of assembly polls this year and the 2019 national election.

The MLAs who have tendered their resignation on Thursday are considered close to former opposition leader Shankarsinh Vaghela resigned from the assembly.

The Gujarat Congress was alarmed by cross-voting in recently concluded presidential election where its 11 MLAs voted for NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

The three resignations from the Congress took place a day after its lone candidate Ahmed Patel filed his nomination for a fifth consecutive term, claiming Vaghela's support. It needs the support of six more MLAs to ensure Rajput gets elected to the Upper House. "It is the innate belief of these MLAs in Congress ideology and their impeccable integrity that deterred the conspirators and resulted into an absolute failure of their conspiracy to cause defections through allurements", the Congress said. However, the presence of the NCP legislators at Vaghela's grand ceremony on 21 July does not bode well for Patel. Nationalist Congress Party has backed Patel's nomination. "They called Gujarat a hub of fake encounters and now a hub of stealing MLAs", Naqvi said.

Stating that the party is keeping all options open, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi warned the MLAs of serious consequences of the anti-defection law that can lead to disqualification from contesting elections up to six years.

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His accusations led to Opposition parties raising the issue, leading to the wash out of today's proceedings. These include Irani, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien.

It was alleged that Scheduled Tribe Congress MLA Punabhai Gamit, a three-time legislator, was being threatened and lured. Anand Chaudhary, another MLA, made similar charges against the BJP. "However, a sinister political conspiracy is afoot", Surjewala alleged. Does such conduct not flagrantly violate the provisions of the Representation of the People Act? Does it not fall within the definition of "corrupt practices"? You can approach police, you can approach election commission and seek remedy.

He added that Congress' downfall has started. "So they have chose to go out of the state", said senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia.

"What they did in Goa, Manipur and in Bihar".

These instances and political failures reflect how the high command has lost touch with the aspirations of its leadership on the ground.

Three Congress MLAs from Gujarat have left the party and joined the BJP.

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