Ahmed Patel wins Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat

Amit Shah

The BJP rejected the Congress claim but the latter cited the example of Rajya Sabha polls when the vote of its senior leader Randeep Surjiwala was declared invalid due to similar reason.

The Congress asked the commission to invalidate the vote of two of its legislators who, after showing their ballot papers to the Congress election agent, also showed the BJP's agent how they had voted, which the party said violates polling norms. After the party complained to the Election Commission, the votes of two of the eight MLAs were disqualified.

The question now is, can Ahmed Patel's win translate into Congress victory in the long run until the party looks inwards and make necessary amends? He said, people of Gujarat will teach a lesson to Congress party in coming assembly elections.

Patel's victory in Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections, ahead of state elections in December, should instil some confidence in the Congress, which has been out of power in the state for more than two decades now.

Besides, six Congress MLAs had resigned last month, ahead of the election to the Upper House of Parliament.

Under the leadership of Shah, BJP has emphasised on booth management, which has reaped rich dividends for the ruling party.

There has been dissent within Congress itself, which had flown down 46 of its MLAs from Gujarat to Karnataka after the BJP poached some of their colleagues.

The other two successful candidates in the election were BJP President Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani.

In June, Vaghela quit as leader of opposition in the state assembly and said that he would leave the Congress in August after the RS elections. They include Biju Janata Dal (8), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (3), Indian National Lok Dal (1) and YSR Congress Party (1).

He also accepted that this was his most hard election and claimed that he had been hounded by agencies such as the IB. It would have led to the collapse of an already demoralised Congress, particularly in assembly poll-going Gujarat later this year and beyond. "They had prepared the documents to support their objection a day before the poll and challenged the voting as per that plan", Mr Vaghela told reporters in Gandhinagar. Anyway, Rajya Sabha elections do not affect state politics for the seats are often decided in advance.

It now seems that if the mystery over the 44th vote persists, Congress will be in the dark over yet another ally it has lost.

Soon thereafter, a BJP delegation of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Dharmendra Pradhan met the Election Commission seeking immediate counting of votes.

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