Ahmed Patel set to be re-nominated for Gujarat Rajya Sabha seat; Congress confident of victory

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is all set to be re-nominated as the party's candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, party sources said.

Top Congress sources said the re-nomination of Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was approved by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi at a meeting with senior leaders of the state unit on Saturday.

 Ahmed Patel set to be re-nominated for Gujarat Rajya Sabha seat; Congress confident of victory

File image of Ahmed Patel with Rahul Gandhi. AFP

Those present at the meeting, including Congress general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot and state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki, endorsed Patel's name for the seat falling vacant on 18 August. If re-elected, the 67-year-old leader would become a member of the Upper House of Parliament for the fifth time.

The Congress leadership is confident of his victory, despite the recent exit of Gujarat strongman Shankersinh Vaghela from the party.

Sources said leaders discussed the consequences of Vaghela's exit on the party's prospects in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha biennial poll and the upcoming assembly elections. There was wide consensus in the meeting that the Congress would manage to retain its lone Rajya Sabha seat from the state, where the terms of three members — BJP's Smriti Irani and Dilipbhai Pandya, and Patel — is expiring on 18 August.

Congress has 57 MLAs in the 162-seat Gujarat assembly and needs 47 for its candidate to win the RS seat. Congress also has the support of two NCP and one JDU legislator in Gujarat and feels it can retain the seat, even if Vaghela walks away with some MLAs.

The last date for filing of nominations for 10 Rajya Sabha vacancies from Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh is 28 July. The process of nominations began on 21 July for the 8 August election.

Patel's first term in the Rajya Sabha was in 1993.

Updated Date: Jul 23, 2017 20:06:37 IST