Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel will be back for his fifth term in the Rajya Sabha on a day that saw some late drama, with the Congress and BJP knocking at the Election Commission’s door.
The number of votes required for his reelection came down to 44 votes after the poll panel disqualified two votes cast by Congress legislators for violating the secrecy of the ballot. The Congress alleged that the two MLAs showed their ballot papers to Amit Shah and demanded the Returning Officer to declare their votes invalid. With the counting of votes delayed, the fight moved to the offices of the Election Commission in New Delhi. Both camps dispatched senior party leaders to meet EC officials and plead their case.
Appearing for the Congress, senior party leader P Chidambaram said the Election Commission must follow the precedent it set during the Haryana Rajya Sabha polls. “The EC must follow its own precedent and reject these two ballot papers,” he said.
While Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who led a delegation of senior BJP leaders, said the Congress was delaying the result as it fears of losing the election. “The Congress has been leveling baseless allegations…they did not say anything in the morning. When they realised that they are going to lose, they began making these allegations. Requested EC to reject Congress’s plea as once votes are cast then nothing can be done. Process was fair,” he said.
This is not just my victory. It is a defeat of the most blatant use of money power,muscle power and abuse of state machinery
— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) August 8, 2017
With the election commission ruling in its favour, Patel required just 44 votes to win. In the end, votes from one of the two NCP MLAs and the lone JD(U) MLA have helped Patel win for the fifth time.
Earlier, the grand old party’s strength was reduced to 51 MLAs in the House after six of them resigned following a rebellion by party stalwart Shankersinh Vaghela. However, eight of them cross-voted in favour of the BJP.
On the other hand, the BJP nominees Amit Shah and Smriti Irani comfortably won with the support of its 120 MLAs.