BJP moves EC against Congress' Rajya Sabha nominee in Gujarat

Opposition members protest in the well of the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi during the ongoing Budget session

By nominating 72-year-old Rajmani Patel, the Congress party has played safe and is seen as an attempt to woo OBCs.

The party's choice for two Rajya Sabha seats from the State has not gone down well with the cadres as more than 20 leaders were lobbying for a nomination. "There is no proper mention of criminal cases in Rathwa's affidavit".

The Congress candidates are L. Hanumanthaiah, G.C. Chandrasekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain, and BJP candidate is Rajeev Chandrashekar, who is seeking a second term, as his first term as an Independent member ends on April 2.

"I do not know how the office of profit charge is being levelled", Vats said over phone.

Earlier in the day, the Congress too raised objections to the nomination forms of BJP candidates - Union Ministers Mansukh Mandavia and Purushottam Rupala as well as Kiritsinh Rana.

With Chandrashekar assured of victory by virtue of the BJP having 48 votes, the contest will be for the fourth seat between the Congress and the JD-S, whose strength got reduced to 37 after three of its members were suspended for revolting against its leadership.

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Among the seven nominations accepted was BJP's dummy candidate Rajnikant Patel.

As the Assembly session was going on, the focus of attention remained the Returning Officer's chamber as scrutiny of nomination forms began on Tuesday. "Rathwa had served as a central minister and the no-dues certificate he submitted was a fake one", alleged Vaghani. Valera has made a decision to contest as an independent for the elections due on March 23.

A delegation of senior party leaders, including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Piyush Goyal, went to the Commission tonight, seeking action against Rathwa and PK Valera, a Congress-backed independent candidate.

The Congress deployed Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, and senior party leader Shaktisinh Gohil to put forward Rathwa's case.

Ms. Patel has sent her resignation to the party leaders. The Returning Officer eventually ruled in Rathwa's favour and accepted his nomination form.

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