The BJP's two candidates from the two Gujarat Rajya Sabha seats -- vacated by Union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani - won the by-elections today, winning over 100 votes. Though a formal announcement from the Election Commission is yet to come, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani informed the media about the outcome of the election.
"External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and another BJP candidate Jugal Thakor won Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat," Mr Rupani said.
"The result is yet to be declared officially but it is clear that we have won... Both our candidates have won with a thumping majority. The Congress tried to create hurdles and went upto the Supreme Court, but it failed," Mr Rupani was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
The Congress, which nominated Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya for the seats, had objected to separate elections, and had even gone to the Supreme Court. But its appeal was rejected.
The top court said it cannot intervene in the election once it has been notified by the Election Commission. The court suggested that the party file an "election petition" after by-poll is over.
The BJP has 100 lawmakers and the Congress has 71 in the Gujarat assembly. Since elections were held separately, a candidate needed only 50 per cent of the votes to win. In today's vote, each candidate needed 88 votes to win.
Legislators vote in Rajya Sabha elections in what is called "proportional representation" with the single transferable vote system. Each lawmaker's vote is counted only once. The lawmakers list their order of preference for each candidate. The candidate that is the first choice for more voters, wins.
After the voting, Congress's rebel leaders Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala resigned as lawmakers. The two had been openly criticising the party, alleging they had been unfairly treated.
Amit Shah's Rajya Sabha seat was declared vacant on May 28 after he won his first Lok Sabha election from Gandhinagar in Gujarat in the national election. Smriti Irani's seat was notified as vacant a day later; she defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
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