AICC general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot said the party has “already expelled” eight MLAs from the party and will expel six more for the violation of the whip in Rajya Sabha polls. The first to go out of the Congress was Shankarsinh Vaghela who had the support of seven party MLAs.
In the end, as expected, Amit Shah won with 46 votes, Smriti Irani with 45 and Ahmed Patel with 44.
Voting in Gujarat assembly to elect three Rajya Sabha members ended at around 03:00 pm and counting of votes was about to start when Congress approached the Election Commission demanding to quash the votes of two of its MLAs.
The mood in BJP was visibly dampened after the party’s high-pitched efforts to defeat Congress strongman Ahmed Patel for a Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat, failed in a close shave. They could be lured with relative ease as the BJP has had the state government since 1995 and appears all-conquering in Gujarat and the rest of the country since it has won some state polls legitimately and arm-twisted its way into power where it has been defeated.
All senior leaders of the Congress who attended the meeting hailed Patel’s victory. The Congress complained to the returning officer, but he rejected their complaint.
The Congress has accused that two of its MLAs showed their votes to “unauthorised persons”.
“We will win all three seats next time because the strength of Congress till then would be reduced to half of what it stands today”, Shah said in farewell address in the state assembly. The national spokesperson for the party however said that Vasava had been instructed to vote for BJP, their new ally.
It was, however, the EC’s decision to cancel two votes, which meant Patel needed one vote less or first-preference votes from 44 MLAs instead of 45 needed earlier, that saw him emerge as a victor in this nail-biting election. In the 182-member assembly, BJP has 122 seats including dissident Nalin Kotadiya while the Congress has 51 MLAs along with 7 of Shankarinh Vaghela’s camp.
Voting begins in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election. The election of Sonia Gandhi’s political aide Ahmed Patel in a cliffhanger of a contest in Gujarat helped the party and Patel retain the seat and gives no addition to its numbers. “The BJP tutored the legislators on how and whom to vote for but never taught them how to conduct themselves during the polling process”.
Prasad said the Congress was acting out of fear of losing the poll, in which its senior leader Ahmed Patel is locked in a tight fight with a Congress rebel fielded by the BJP. The party claimed the MLAs had shown their ballot papers to Amit Shah.
The Congress has again sent a team, which includes P. Chidambaram, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Ashok Gehlot to the Election Commission to counter the BJP argument.