Congress MLA from Vallabhnagar in Udaipur district, Gajendra Singh Shaktawat died in Delhi on Wednesday morning at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Diseases.
He was admitted to the hospital on December 14. Shaktawat was the son of former Home Minister late Gulab Singh Shaktawat. Gulab Singh was a two time MLA and also served as the parliamentary secretary.
Gajendra Singh Shaktawat was admitted to the Delhi hospital due to liver ailment. After his death, it was found that he was COVID positive. His last rites will be performed as per COVID protocol.
The Ashok Gehlot cabinet that was to meet on Wednesday cancelled its meeting as a mark of respect for Shaktawat.
Glowing tributes were paid to Shaktawat by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Speaker CP Joshi, Pradesh Congress President Govind Singh Dotasara, and Sachin Pilot, former Deputy Chief Minister.
During the political crisis in July last year, Shaktawat had sided with Pilot.
Third Rajasthan Congress MLA to die
Shaktawat is the third Congress MLA to die in recent months. Earlier, Kailash Trivedi, the MLA from Sahara, and Cabinet Minister, Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal from Sujangarh had passed away. A BJP MLA and a former minister and a member of Lok Sabha, Kiran Maheshwari also died of COVID recently.
The state will have to hold four byelections for the 200 seat Rajasthan Vidhan sabha.
In the house, Congress had a strength of 107 before the death of its MLAs. This included the BSP MLAs who merged with the Congress. Now its effective strength is 101, the BJP has 70 seats, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party 3, Communist Party (Marxist) 2, Rashtriya Lok Dal 1, and Bharatiya Tribal party 2 and Independents 13.
The Congress faces a big challenge in the three bye-elections as it will have to retain the seats, while the BJP has at stake a single seat. Although Congress enjoys a comfortable majority and even if it were to lose these three seats, it would not impact the government. But the four-by elections will be a test of the Gehlot government’s popularity.
The dates for the bye-elections are yet to be declared. But before the bye-elections, the state will witness civic polls for 90 local bodies which will also be a challenge for the party.
The Congress did well in the first phase of the civic poll. Five of the local bodies are located in these four Vidhan Sabha constituencies where the bye-elections are due.
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