New Delhi, July 5: Before the official announcement of results of by-elections to two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed victory on both seats. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday said BJP candidates Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Jugalkishore Thakor have been elected to Rajya Sabha after bypolls. Polling for the two Rajya Sabha seats ended at 4 pm today. The official results were yet to be declared by the Election Commission.
"External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Jugalkishore Thakor of BJP have been elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. Official results yet to be declared, but it is clear that we have won," Rupani said at a press conference. The BJP candidates are most likely to get 105 votes, whereas Congress's Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya might get 70, including that of Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani. Alpesh Thakor Resigns as Congress MLA After Cross-Voting in Bypolls.
Ahead of the expected victory, Jaishankar and Thakor thanked BJP legislators for their support. "I want to thank everyone for the support. Like I said during my nomination, External Affairs Minister & Gujarat have a natural partnership. There is no such country where there is no Gujarati. If the prestige of India has increased internationally, Gujarat has a role in it," the union minister said.
Speaking at the conference, Thakor said: "I thank all the party MLAs who have voted for me and all the MLAs from other parties who have voted for me." The two Rajya Sabha seats were vacated after BJP leaders Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha on May 23. The Congress had challenged the EC decision to hold separate polls for the Upper House seats in the Supreme Court and demanded that the elections should be held together, as was the practice.
Given Congress strength of 71 MLAs in the Assembly, the Congress and the ruling BJP would have won one seat each -- on the basis of first preference votes of their MLAs -- had the polls been held together. In the case of separate polls, all legislators vote twice and first preference votes are counted for each seat. However, the Supreme Court rejected its plea. (With IANS inputs)