External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and another Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, Jugal Thakor, were elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat on Friday in byelections, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani declared in Gandhinagar.
Election Commission sources confirmed the result which will be officially announced once the returning officer files the report.
Jaishankar secured 104 votes and Thakor 105, while Congress candidates Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya managed to get 70 votes each.
Jaishankar, a former foreign secretary, needed to get elected to Parliament after he was inducted into the Narendra Modi cabinet.
Two Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat had fallen vacant after Union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and Amethi, respectively.
“Both of our candidates have won the election with a thumping majority. The Congress tried to create hurdles in the elections and went up to the Supreme Court, but it failed,” Rupani told reporters.
Jaishankar and Thakor secured more than required number of votes, an Election Commission official said.
“However, as per the procedure, the EC in Delhi can make the final announcement only after receiving the report from the returning officer,” he added.
Apart from votes of 100 MLAs of the BJP, Jaishankar and Thakor also got votes of one Nationalist Congress Party MLA, two Bharitiya Tribal Party (BTP) legislators and two rebels of the Congress — Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala.
Alpesh Thakor and Zala resigned as MLAs immediately after casting their ballots, officials said.
One vote cast in Jaishankar’s favour was held invalid for technical reasons, due to which he got 104 votes.
The Congress candidates got votes of its own 69 MLAs and the vote of independent MLA Jignesh Mevani.
The Congress had demanded that the Election Commission reject the votes of Alpesh Thakor and Zala as they voted against party candidates by defying whip. But the EC rejected the plea before the counting began.
As the election to the two seats was held separately, each candidate needed 50 per cent votes (88) to win. Jaishankar thanked the BJP’s central and state leadership for his win.
“External affairs ministry has deep relations with the people of Gujarat as people from this state have settled abroad in large numbers. Now I hope to engage more with the people of the state as a representative from Gujarat,” he said.
State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said the parties which are with the UPA and Congress too voted for the BJP.
The Congress had moved the Supreme Court against EC’s decision to hold separate elections for the two seats, but the court refused to interfere. Going by the numbers, the opposition party stood the chance to win one seat had the poll been held together.
Of the total 182 members of the Gujarat Assembly, 175 were qualified to vote.
IMAGES: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel and others greet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and BJP leader Juglaji Thakor on winning the Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat. Photograph: Courtesy @BJP4Gujarat/Twitter
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