In Gujarat Rajya Sabha Elections, Spotlight On Lone Legislator From Nitish Kumar's JDU

Ahmed Patel, assured of 43 Congress votes, needs 44 votes to win and Chhotubhai Vasava's vote would get him there.

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In Gujarat Rajya Sabha Elections, Spotlight On Lone Legislator From Nitish Kumar's JDU

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Chhotubhai Vasava told NDTV this afternoon that he had voted for "good friend" Ahmed Patel.

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Chhotubhai Vasava says he voted for 'good friend' Ahmed Patel
  2. However, KC Tyagi said Mr Vasava had voted for the BJP
  3. 'For 22 yrs BJP looted Gujarat. How can I vote for them?' Mr Vasava said
With a single legislator in the Gujarat assembly, the Janata Dal United is not a major player in the state, but its MLA Chhotubhai Vasava was in the spotlight on Tuesday with victory or defeat for the Congress' senior leader Ahmed Patel seeming to hinge for a large part on his vote in the Rajya Sabha elections

It also revealed apparent fissures in the JDU, whose boss and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar just partnered with the BJP in his state, ditching Lalu Yadav and the Congress.

Chhotubhai Vasava told NDTV on Tuesday afternoon that he had voted for "good friend" Ahmed Patel

Soon after a top leader of his party, KC Tyagi, said Mr Vasava had voted for the BJP. "Nitish ji had asked our Gujarat MLA Chhotubhai Vasava to vote for BJP and he voted BJP," Mr Tyagi said.    

But Mr Vasava shot back, "How does Tyagi know who I voted for? I voted for Ahmed Patel." The JDU's general secretary in Gujarat Ambalal Jadhav too said Mr Vasava had voted for the Congress candidate. 

"Who is KC Tyagi to say anything? Chhotubhai has voted, he will tell. Our support is with Ahmed Patel," said Mr Jadhav. 

Mr Vasava, who is known to be close to Ahmed Patel, said he decided to vote for the Congress candidate as "he is unhappy with the ruling party's works for the poor and tribal population" that he represents.

"For 22 years the BJP has looted the state. How can I side with them," he told NDTV.

Mr Vasava said the decision to vote for Ahmed Patel "was my own" and pointed out that the party had issued no whip.

He also hit out at Nitish Kumar, upset that he "did not even discuss with us" the decision to partner with the BJP in Bihar. Chief among critics of that decision in the JDU is former party president Sharad Yadav, who is said to be exploring new options. Mr Yadav is said to have the support of many state units of the JDU, which is a recognised party only in Bihar.

Ahmed Patel, assured of 43 Congress votes, needs 44 votes to win and Mr Vasava's vote would get him there. He is also hoping that a lawmaker from Sharad Pawar's NCP has voted for him.

Meanwhile, the JDU has sacked Gujarat General Secretary Arun Srivastava for writing to the Returning Officer over the appointment of the party's election agent when he was not directed to do so, reported news agency ANI.

Elections were held for three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat on Tuesday. The BJP with its big numbers in the state assembly will win two easily and is sending its party chief Amit Shah and union minister Smriti Irani to Parliament. For the third seat it has fielded Balwantsinh Rajput to take on Mr Patel.

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