Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad
After long drawn legal battle before Election Commission of India till around midnight, Congress candidate Ahmed Patel won Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat as election Commission disqualified two rebel Congress candidates for showing their ballot papers to BJP polling agents.
In the poll results declared after 2 am BJP national president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani both got 46 seats votes each while Ahmed Patel got 44, minimum number of votes required to win. Congress rebel Balwant Rajput who was fielded by BJP as the third candidate lost as he got 38 votes.
Disqualification of two rebels Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohil qualified Ahmed Patel for entry into Rajya Sabha for the fifth successive term. Earlier Ahmed Patel needed 45 votes to win, but after the disqualification of the two rebels the qualification bench mark was lowered to 44 the first preference votes Patel had.
Though the Rajya Sabha election turned out to be a big drama from the day BJP decided to field Balwant Rajput as its third candidate. By that time six Congress MLAs had left leaving the strength of the Congress to 51 in a house of 182. Congress decided to keep its remaining MLAs intact as BJP kept on continuing pressure on Congress MLAs to switch over to BJP by resigning from Congress.
The idea was basically to have sizable number of MLAs quit Congress to make it impossible for Ahmed Patel to win election. At the same time this exodus is used to send a message that Congress was a disintegrating party and had no future as per the BJP agenda of Congress free India. However, Congress could manage to keep in its fold only 44 of its MLAs reflecting a serious challenge to Ahmed Patel. Because, Ahmed Patel needed 45 votes to win. It tried to manage this additional support from two MLAs of NCP and one of JD(U).
However, Congress game plan against the strategy of BJP was dented by one of the 44 MLAs, Karamsinh Patel, who cross voted in favour of Balwant Rajput. As a result, Ahmed Patel got only 43 Congress votes while the party had original strength of 57 in the House of 182.
Shankarsinh Vaghela who sworn to vote for Ahmed Patel even after he had quit Congress, announced that he had not voted for Ahmed Patel and said that Patel will be defeated.
In the meantime, Polling agent of Congress Shaktisinh Gohil alleged that two of the rebel MLAs had shown their ballot papers to BJP agents. As per the rules, one can show ballot paper to the agent of his party and not to anyone else. The matter reached Election Commission of India where senior leaders of both Congress and BJP had three rounds of representation of their views. This delayed the counting of votes by around seven hours.
When ECI disqualified votes of the two rebels and instructed for counting of votes, BJP leaders here tried to prevent counting on the ground that two Congress MLAs had also made similar blunder. Since there was no complaint before the election commission, the counting began around 1.30 am.
However, it is not known who voted for Ahmed Patel from other parties. But there are strong indications that it was JD(U) who voted for Ahmed Patel. At central level JD(U) had decided to vote for BJP in view of Nitish Kumar and even retained BJP leader for task, Vasava is learnt not to have got whip and so he freely voted for Ahmed Patel.
(For News in Hindi read our Hindi news daily Chaupal Chronicle)