GANDHINAGAR: Four candidates -- two each of the Congress and the BJP -- were today elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, days after the last moment entry of two nominees from these parties raised the prospect of a contest.
Union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia (BJP) and Naran Rathwa and Amee Yajnik (Congress) were declared elected unopposed by the election authorities after BJP's Kiritsinh Rana and Congress-backed Independent P K Valera backed off on the last day of withdrawal of nominations today.
A total of four seats were up for grabs from the state.
"BJP's Union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia, and Congress candidates Naran Rathwa and Amee Yajnik are declared elected unopposed," Returning Officer for Rajya Sabha polls, A V Karova, said.
"On the last day of withdrawal of nomination forms, BJP candidate Kirsitsinh Rana and Independent nominee P K Valera, along with other dummy candidates, withdrew their papers, leaving only four candidates," he said.
The prospect of a contest came up when Valera, a Congress general secretary, and Rana filed their forms on the last day of filing of nomination papers on March 12.
On March 13, the BJP took objection to Rathwa's candidature during the scrutiny of forms alleging that he had filed a "fake" no-dues certificate along with his nomination forms.
However, the returning officer overruled the BJP's allegations and accepted Rathwa's papers during scrutiny.
Unhappy with the officer's decision, the BJP approached the Election Commission demanding the nomination of Rathwa be quashed because of "several irregularities" in his form.
However, the poll panel ruled out any immediate intervention.
The election of two official nominees each of the BJP and the Congress was a forgone conclusion given the numerical strength of both the parties in the 182-member Assembly.
The ruling BJP has 99 MLAs while the opposition Congress 77.
The minimum number of votes required per candidate is 38.
A controversy erupted August last when Congress veteran Ahmed Patel was seeking another term for Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.
Patel struggled but managed to retain his Rajya Sabha seat against the backdrop of resignation and cross-voting by some Congress MLAs.
On rest two seats up for grabs then, BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani won comfortably.