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Gujarat Congress Adds Drama to RS Polls With Confusion Over Nomination, BJP Fields 3rd Candidate

Around noon, news filtered that senior Congress leader Rajiv Shukla has been asked to rush to Gujarat to file his nomination as there were discrepancies in those of the party’s other candidate, Naran Rathwa.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:March 12, 2018, 6:14 PM IST
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Gujarat Congress Adds Drama to RS Polls With Confusion Over Nomination, BJP Fields 3rd Candidate
For the four Rajya Sabha seats, BJP and Congress has fielded six candidates in the poll fray.
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Ahmedabad: The election of four members to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat will not be as thrilling as last year when Congress’ Ahmed Patel was elected to the Upper House in a fiercely fought battle. However, it will also not be a straightforward nomination of two candidates each from the BJP and Congress.

For the four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat, a total of six candidates will be in the poll fray - three from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two from Congress and an Independent candidate supported by the Congress.

Meanwhile, even the process of filing nominations was not spared without some drama. Around noon, news filtered that senior Congress leader Rajiv Shukla has been asked to rush to Gujarat to file his nomination as there were discrepancies in those of the party’s other candidate, Naran Rathwa.

However, with the Ahmedabad airport runway undergoing some maintenance work, no commercial flights could land in Ahmedabad between noon and 7 pm. In the meantime, Rathwa claimed that he had completed all the required formalities and would file his nomination before the stipulated the 3 pm deadline.

Until 2.45 pm on Monday, two candidates from the BJP and two others Congress had filed their nominations for the Rajya Sabha elections. However, saving the drama for the last few minutes, the BJP fielded a third candidate, Kiritsinh Rana, while the Independent candidate being supported by the Congress, PK Valera, also filed his nomination just minutes before the deadline. While Rana is the sitting BJP MLA from Limbdi constituency of Saurashtra, Valera is a retired IAS officer.

Speaking to News18, Naran Rathwa said, "There was no drama whatsoever. Reports that Rajiv Shukla was being rushed to Gujarat are also wrong. There was a slight delay in preparing my papers but I have filed my nomination in time."

He added that the Congress has fielded just two candidates. "We have the numbers to get two persons elected. The BJP resorts to such drama every time and has now fielded three candidates. It will fail," he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP believes there is a strong possibility that Naran Rathwa's nomination papers might be rejected and has fielded three candidates.

Senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, while speaking to the media, said that there is also a possibility that the Congress might move its MLAs to a safe location like it did during Ahmed Patel’s election.

"The BJP has fielded its third candidate as we sense an opportunity to have a third member elected. There is a possibility that Naran Rathwa's nomination papers will be rejected and that is perhaps the reason why the Congress has decided to field P K Valera in the form of an independent candidate," Patel said.

Speaking to News18, Kirtisinh Rana, BJP's third candidate, expressed confidence that he will win.

The process of scrutinisation of forms will be taken up by the returning officer on Tuesday.

As of now, both BJP and Congress have adequate numbers to send two candidates each to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. However, with both parties having propped an additional candidate, the election process is likely to take an interesting turn.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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