Nationalist Congress Party MLA Kandhal Jadeja on Monday said he was asked by the party leadership to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate Balwantsinh Rajput in Tuesday’s Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat, ANI reported.

The NCP has two MLAs in the Gujarat Assembly – Jadeja and Jayant Patel. “The party leadership has asked us to vote for the BJP candidate, Balwantsinh Rajput, so we will follow the orders tomorrow,” Jadeja told ANI. The NCP and the Congress had entered an alliance before the Assembly elections in Gujarat in 2012.

The NCP leader’s statement comes hours after Congress candidate Ahmed Patel (pictured above) claimed that he had the support of the NCP. “I have just received a message that the NCP has announced its support to my candidature, and the party will also issue whip for the same,” Patel told reporters, according to The Hindu.

Patel had said that besides the two NCP legislators, lone Janata Dal (United) MLA Chhotubhai Vasava had also extended support to him. “Apart from them, seven other Congress MLAs, who have not opened their cards yet, may vote for me. Even Shankersinh Vaghela has announced that he will give his vote to me,” Patel said.

The Rajya Sabha elections

The BJP has fielded party chief Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani and former Congress chief whip in the Gujarat Assembly Balwantsinh Rajput, who had joined the BJP last month. Congress’ nominee Patel is fighting for a fifth term in the Rajya Sabha.

Senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela’s exit from the party was followed by six other MLAs quitting, bringing down the party’s tally in the Assembly from 57 to 51. Three of the six leaders joined the BJP.

The Congress had moved 44 of its legislators from Ahmedabad to Bengaluru late on July 28 over suspicion that the BJP was trying to poach them. The MLAs returned to Gujarat on Monday.