Gujarat: Cong sees cross-voting by its legislators in Prez polls

Gujarat: Cong sees cross-voting by its legislators in Prez polls

Cross-voting adds to party's woes in Gujarat

Gujarat: Cong sees cross-voting by its legislators in Prez polls

At least eight Congress legislators in Gujarat Assembly are said to have cast their vote in favor of BJP-led NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, instead of UPA’s Meira Kumar.

This came to light during the counting of Presidential votes, where it was found that of the 181 votes polled, Ramnath Kovind had secured 132 votes, Meira Kumar had received 49 votes. Interestingly, Congress has 57 legislators in the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly, with ruling BJP having 122 legislators, NCP two and JD(U) one legislator. The JD(U) legislator had abstained from voting.

The Nationalist Congress Party or NCP had openly supported UPA candidate Meira Kumar. BJP rebel legislator Nalin Kotadiya too had said that he had not voted for NDA candidate. If these three votes are considered to have been cast in favor of Meira Kumar, the number of Congress legislators who voted against their official candidate could rise to 11.

“We do not have sufficient information on this as yet but we will look into it and act accordingly,” Bharatsinh Solanki told media-persons in Ahmedabad.

The cross-voting by Congress legislators further multiplied the troubles for the already puzzled party. Vaghela has already announced a public gathering of his supporters and legislators on his 77th birthday on Friday, which he otherwise seldom celebrates.

Vaghela, the leader of Congress party and opposition in the state Assembly, has announced that he would share his "feelings" with people of Gujarat during the gathering. This threat could add to the woes of the party that is hoping to get Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, to Rajya Sabha from the state. The polls to the Upper House are slated for August 8.

Currently, with a strength of 57 legislators, Congress appears to be in a comfortable lead, as a member would require first preference votes of 46 legislators to book a berth in Upper House of the Parliament.

However, if BJP does decide to field a fourth candidate and Shankarsinh does decide to move away from Congress with his band of supporters, it could prove tricky for Ahmed Patel to make it to Rajya Sabha. The last date for filing nominations to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat is July 28.

Meanwhile, senior Congress functionaries, including state party in-charge Ashok Gehlot and state party president Bharatsinh held a meeting on Thursday to discuss possible outcomes for the party if Vaghela does finally part ways with Congress on Friday.

This, even as some posters calling Vaghela a popular ‘people’s leader’ cropped up in the state capital a day before his birthday bash. Interestingly, none of the posters had Congress party symbol or any symbol to show his affiliation to the party.

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