January 21, 2018

Rajya Sabha elections: Touch and go for Congress's Ahmed Patel

09 August 2017, 12:25 | Kara Nash

DNA Edit | Night of long knives Shah & Patel walk the wire on a dramatic day

Ahmed Patel and Amit Shah

Asked about his vote, Vaghela said voting was the "property of a MLA".

Shah is marking three years as the party chief by entering into the Rajya Sabha with an aim to help achieve better coordination with the Parliamentarians. The ruling BJP's third candidate is Congress turncoat Balwantsinh Rajput.

But with the possibility of rampant cross-voting (11 Congress MLAs cross-voted for the NDA's Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind in July), more suspected desertions and uncertainties of NCP votes, Patel's election has turned crucial. Lawmakers in Gujarat will vote for three Rajya Sabha seats on Tuesday.

The Congress is fighting the poll with its heavyweight candidate Ahmed Patel whose election also is important for Congress chief Sonia Gandhi since he is a close aide being and functions as the political secretary the Congress chief.

The elections seem to be a prestige battle for Congress and will also decide the political future of Patel, who also serves as a political adviser to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Ahmed Patel has the support of 44 Congres MLAs and is hoping to get the support of 2 NCP MLAs, though their support is still in a dicey situation. The other six MLAs who did not join the 44 lawmakers in Bengaluru were his camp followers and were learnt to have voted for BJP. "We told them clearly that once the ballets are cast and the box is closed you (Congress) can go to courts and move an election petition", Prasad said. But after Congress leaders approached it again and persevered, after high drama, the EC declared the two votes as invalid.

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Mr Gehlot accepted that all the seven MLAs of Mr Vaghela group, including Raghavji Patel and Dharmedrasinh Jadeja, have cross-voted. Of these, Gohil and Patel apparently voted for BJP. Six MLAs of the Congress have already resigned from the House and have joined the BJP in the House of 182. From the Congress point of view, fear of cross-voting looms large. "They can go to any extent". I have full faith in my MLAs. The MLAs have remained committed to the party in the last few days while in Bengaluru.

NCP legislator Kandhal Jadeja announced that the party has chose to support Bharatiya Janata Party. "I don't want to expose it".

In its efforts to secure a fifth term for Patel, Congress is also hoping to win some of its legislators who are now in Vaghela camp.

Today's Rajya Sabha elections are set to be a thriller. This would mean a contestant has to muster 45 votes.

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