Congress would win all three seats, claims Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is fully confident that all the three Congress candidates would come out triumphant in the Rajya Sabha poll

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (IANS Photo)
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (IANS Photo)

Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is fully confident that all the three Congress candidates would come out triumphant in the Rajya Sabha poll.

Reacting to the reports of the BJP supporting media baron Subhash Chandra as an Independent for the fourth seat from Rajasthan, Gehlot said that by supporting Subhash Chandra, the BJP is trying to indulge in horse-trading.

“Congress MLAs and the Independents and our alliance are united and nothing can lure them, all our three candidates would win. The BJP has supported Subhash Chandra, but from where would they get votes, they want to encourage horse-trading, but this would not work” said Gehlot.

He said when the Congress government faced a crisis two years ago, the MLAs were offered Rs 35 crores and were offered Rs 10 crore as the first instalment, but none of the loyalists were lured away by the money power. "All our MLAs and supporters would ensure that all the three Congress candidates win” said Gehlot.

Gehlot said the BJP is known for adopting such gimmicks and 15 years ago they supported an Independent to upset the Congress applecart, but they had to withdraw the candidature of the Independents as they could not muster the support of the Independents.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, who is also one of the three candidates fielded by the Congress said the BJP who fielded Subhash Chandra as the second candidate would not succeed in getting him elected as the Congress enjoys the support of 126 MLA in a House of 200, while the BJP has only 71 votes. If the BJP was so confident of victory, why did it not field its own candidate instead of supporting an Independent? The BJP has 71 votes only and for victory, a candidate requires 41 votes.

Surjewala said that the BJP is involved in adopting all kinds of means to achieve its goals. He said the MLAs would not get into the trap that the BJP was trying to lay.

A BJP leader said that the party fielded the fourth candidate as it was not ready to give a walkover to Congress. Congress is certain to win three seats and the BJP one. But the party supported the fourth candidate, Subhash Chandra, who is a retiring member of Rajya Sabha from Haryana as an Independent since it was sure of its victory and has fielded Subhash Chandra as an Independent to avoid embarrassment.

BJP’s official candidate is Ghanshyam Tiwari, the rebel leader who opposed former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje which led to his dismissal from the party. Tiwari, however, was brought back after the Assembly election in 2018 when Tiwari, who had formed his own party contested against the BJP candidate Ashok Lahoti and lost his deposit.

But, Tiwari, who is 75 was brought back into the party’s fold as he was the Brahmin face of the BJP.

When the party gave him the Rajya Sabha seat a lot of dissent in the party emerged. The nomination of Tiwari as the candidate was viewed as marginalizing Vasundhara Raje. It is learnt that it was Vasundhara Raje, who is instrumental in bringing Subhash Chandra as the Independent candidate. Subhash Chandra is likely to get some BJP votes in cross-voting to ensure the defeat of Tiwari.

The Vasundhara Raje camp is keen to see Tiwari defeated by managing to cast some of the BJP votes in favour of Subhash Chandra as the first preference votes.

The nomination of Tiwari has been opposed by not only Vasundhara Raje, but some other senior leaders of the party also who thought that the party should have nominated somebody from the OBC, ST or SC.

Subhash Chandra said, he is not an outsider to Rajasthan as he belonged to a Marwari business family of Fatehpur in the Sikar district of Rajasthan. He said he had sought the support of Congress for his nomination from Rajasthan, failing which he sought the support of the BJP.

As the BJP has 71 votes, it could make its official candidate Tiwari win by casting 41 votes in his favour. This means it still has 30 votes for the second seat. Subhash Chandra thus will have to muster 11 more votes for his victory. Thus he is banking on the Independents and smaller parties for the support.

Gehlot said all the party’s MLAs and the Independents and MLAs from other parties would be shifting to a secluded place to avoid horse-trading and other pressures.

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