The Gujarat High Court on Thursday concluded the hearing on a petition moved by BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput challenging Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s victory in the Rajya Sabha polls held in August last year, and reserved its verdict. The BJP had fielded Rajput against Patel, days after he quit as Congress chief whip and switched loyalties.
During the elections on August 8, two Congress MLAs, Raghavji Patel and Bhola Gohil, had allegedly shown their ballots not only to the party’s polling agents but also to the polling agents of BJP, thus violating polling procedures. However, the returning officer rejected Congress leaders’ objections. The Election Commission had ruled in favour of Patel. During counting, Patel was pronounced winner with 44 votes while Rajput got 38 votes.
Rajput then moved a petition in the HC, challenging Patel’s election, accusing Patel of “indulging in corrupt practices” to influence voters. Patel filed a detailed affidavit refuting all allegations. In the affidavit, he said that even if the two votes would have been held invalid, he’d have won the polls.