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Gehlot questions decision to defer Rajya Sabha polls

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday questioned the Election Commission’s decision to defer the polls to the Rajya Sabha, citing horse trading efforts by the BJP. 

Condemning the decision, the Congress leader said the move comes under the scanner as the BJP needed “more time” for horse trading.

“The decision to defer the RS elections definitely comes under the scanner as the BJP is not able to succeed in horse trading in Gujarat and Rajasthan. They want some more time. Sad day for democracy,” Gehlot tweeted.

Saying that the decision was taken without taking political parties into confidence, the chief minister alleged that the poll panel “intentionally ignored” that parliament was in session till Monday and the oath-taking ceremony in Madhya Pradesh was held on the same day.

The Election Commission had deferred the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled for March 26 in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

The elections to fill the remaining 18 of the 55 seats in the Upper House of Parliament were to be held on March 26 as 37 candidates have already been elected without a contest.

According to the order issued by the commission, there will be no change in the list of candidates. 

The next election date will be decided by the commission considering the circumstances in the due course of time.

In Rajasthan, three of the 10 Rajya Sabha seats were to go the polls on Thursday. 

The Congress had named K C Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi as its candidates whereas the BJP fielded Rajendra Gehlot and Omkar Singh Lakhawat for the polls.        With Lakhawat in the fray, a tough contest is on the cards for the three seats, currently held by the BJP candidates whose term will expire the next month.

Lakhawat is perceived to be the choice of the BJP to cash in on the factionalism within the Congress, party leaders said.

The Congress Party’s only Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan is former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who was elected unopposed in the bypolls held last year.

The Congress, which came to power in the state in December 2018, has a total of 107 MLAs in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly while the BJP has 72 legislators.

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