The resignation of Amit Shah and Smriti Irani from the Rajya Sabha on different dates could be an attempt to stagger polls to the two seats in the upper house to ensure the BJP’s victory, the Congress alleged today.
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 last month’s election. Smriti Irani’s seat was declared vacant a day later; she defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
While Amit Shah was declared winner on May 23, the day of the national election results, Smriti Irani’s result was announced only the next day.
“If you have one election today and one after two weeks, four weeks, six weeks then you will enable the ruling party MLAs (lawmakers) to simply cross 51 per cent in the assembly of Gujarat and elect him in the first round and him in the second round which is held after weeks,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Mr Singhvi demanded that elections to the two Rajya Sabha seats be held simultaneously, arguing that staggering the polls would be against the law.
The BJP has 99 legislators in the Gujarat assembly and the Congress has 77.
If the election to each seat is held on different days, the BJP will win both in the “first-past-the-post” system since it has 20 more lawmakers.
If the voting is held on the same day, the Congress can win one of the seats.
Mr Singhvi expressed the worry that the Election Commission, which has faced questions about fairness and objectivity after some of its controversial decisions during the national election, would declare polls on different days.
The Rajya Sabha has 245 members, including 12 nominated.
Legislators vote in Rajya Sabha elections in what is called proportional representation with the single transferable vote (STV) 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.