A delegation of senior party leaders, including Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi went to the Election Commission on Tuesday night and sought that the candidature of Rathwa and a Congress-backed independent candidate P K Valera be declared invalid and illegal.
“We have informed the Election Commission about the irregularities in the nomination forms of Congress Rajya Sabha candidate Naran Rathwa and independent PK Valera,” Mr Goyal later told reporters.
He also alleged that there is “no proper mention” of criminal cases in Mr Rathwa’s affidavit. Gujarat BJP leaders have informed the central leaders, according to sources, that a “no due” certificate produced by Mr Rathwa ans filed with his nomination papers was “fake”.
The development suggests that an intense politico-legal battle especially at the door steps of Election Commission is again on cards as was visible during Rajya Sabha polls in August last year when Congress leader Ahmed Patel was in the race.
However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused the BJP of playing a motivated games and said,”The BJP played this lowly game during Ahmed Patel’s election and now again.”
Another Congress leader from Gujarat Shaktisinh Gohil said,”The objections raised by the BJP during the scrutiny process of our candidates lack substance”. The March 23 biennial Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat have turned interesting as for only four seats, a total of seven candidates have filed nomination papers.
The BJP has fielded Union ministers Purshottam Rupala, Mansukh Mandavia, and former MLA Kiritsinh Rana while Amiben Yagnik and Naran Rathwa would be Congress candidates. The Congress also decided to back Independent candidate PK Valera.
In the 182-member assembly, BJP has 99 MLAs and Congress 77 and thus both Congress and the BJP can only send two candidates each to the Upper House. Knowing pretty well that Rajya Sabha elections would not be a smooth sail in Gujarat, the ruling BJP has shifted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for a ‘safer entry’ into House of Elders from BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.