The polls for three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat have turned dramatic in an unprecedented way. While Upper House polls barely attract any attention, this one has grabbed eyeballs across the nation - right from horse trading allegations, MLAs trip to Bangalore and now to cross-voting.
These elections are unique in more than one way. It is the first time since 1996 that Gujarat’s Rajya Sabha seats are facing a contest. Four candidates are contesting three seats, two of these held by the BJP, which is keen to topple the Congress from the third.
While BJP chief Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani are fighting unopposed, the party has fielded Congress detractor Balwantsinh Rajput against Sonia Gandhi loyalist Ahmed Patel.
The result of the Balwantsinh Rajput vs Ahmed Patel is more crucial than just one RS seat:
Why winning Gujarat RS elections crucial for BJP?
# The high-octane drama leading up to and during the elections has made winning crucial to cement party president Amit Shah's reputation as a master strategist.
#It will be a big boost for the saffron party ahead of this year’s assembly election in the western state. The party has set a target of winning 150 seats in the 182-member assembly.
#After the polls, Shah will make his debut in Parliament as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
What is at stake for Congress leader Ahmed Patel?
#If in case Ahmed Patel losses his seat to RS it will be a major blow to Congress as he is a loyalist to party chief Sonia Gandhi.
#Congress victory will give a new voice to challenge the BJP Government at the Centre.
#A win will help Patel re-establish his credentials as a master strategist. It will also silence party snipers.
#The Congress will get a new lease of life in Gujarat, where it wants to capitalise on the ‘absence’ of Narendra Modi to make a comeback. Gujarat is scheduled to go to polls in November and Patel’s victory in such a high profile contest will boost the morale of the party cadres.