Gujarat Congress stalwart Shankarsinh Vaghela‘s decision to quit the party may cast a shadow on the prospects of Sonia Gandhi’s confidante Ahmed Patel’s re-election to the Rajya Sabha.
According to sources in the party, Vaghela has the support of around a dozen MLAs, and if they follow suit, it may put into jeopardy Patel’s chances of securing a fourth Rajya Sabha term from his home state.
Patel is Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary.
Congress has 57 MLAs in Gujarat and its candidate would require votes of 47 of them to get elected.
The RS poll comes close on the heels of the presidential election which exposed chinks in the Congress armour as the joint opposition’s nominee Meira Kumar could garner votes of only 49 MLAs.
Vaghela, while announcing his decision of quitting the party, said he would resign from the Assembly only after the August 8 RS poll, seen as a veiled warning that he would try to ensure the defeat of the Congress candidate.
Patel’s current term ends on August 18. Though the party is yet to announce its candidate for the upcoming elections, it is seen as almost certain that it would be Patel.