New Delhi, June 15 : The Congress party is fighting a twin battle ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls — one, to keep its flock together and the second, to get the desired number of votes to ensure party candidates get elected.
In Rajasthan, the party looks comfortably settled as it has contained desertions so far. The two Congress candidates — K.C. Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi are likely to sail through with the backing of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. However, the Congress has to keep its MLAs at a resort to avoid poaching.
The Congress MLAs lodged in the resort are doing different activities to kill time and to keep themselves motivated. Party in-charge Avinash Pande tweeted a picture of the MLAs and said, “And since every team can use a little extra motivation once in a while, we set out to field today playing cricket, football and other sports. It was fun to loosen up a little; thereby maintaining a positive team culture. Thanking all for their participation and great team spirit.”
But that is not the case in Gujarat, where the BJP has made dents in the Congress numbers, reducing it in the House. The Congress needs 71 votes to get its two candidates elected but has only 65 votes and is now depending on the management skills of Ahmed Patel.
The Congress has decided that first preference votes will go to Shakti Singh Gohil and the second will go to Bharat Singh Solanki, a former Union Minister. He has to depend on the votes of smaller parties and Independent MLAs to win. The Congress has alleged that its MLAs are being pressurised to quit the party. Senior spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “BJP is trying to manufacture numbers through dirty games”.
In Jharkhand, the Congress hoped that Chief Minister Hemant Soren will try to muster the numbers for the second candidate Shahzada Anwar who is a Congress nominee but sources say Soren is not showing any interest. In such a scenario, the Congress may only have surplus votes but not a seat. The BJP is also short of the required numbers and if the Congress candidate gets the votes of the AJSU and Independents, then things can change.
The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has already lost the state due to the revolt of Jyotiraditya Scindia and now there is less chance of the second Congress candidate Phool Singh Baraiya getting elected to the Rajya Sabha. The party is more focused on bye-elections to 24 assembly seats to reclaim its lost glory.