Former Congress veteran Shankersinh Vaghela slammed the party on Thursday for “conspiring” to win one seat in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections. Vaghela, who quit from all party posts last month, claimed it was the party’s plan to get the votes of two MLAs disqualified in order to secure a berth for Ahmed Patel in the Upper House. He added the Election Commission should not have interfered in the polls, as the Returning Officer (RO) had the right to end the dispute between the parties, reported news agency ANI.
“It was a conspiracy by the Congress, they had planned everything well in advance,” Vaghela was quoted as saying by ANI. “The EC had no role in this, they should not have interfered. The RO had the right to decide,” he added.
After voting in the polls, Vaghela had told reporters that he voted for BJP’s candidate as the Congress “wasn’t going to win”. However, on Thursday, he said, “Ashok Gehlot said I was acting under CBI pressure, I told him I won’t vote for Ahmed Patel till he apologises for this comment.” Gehlot had said Vaghela resigned under pressure from the government after the ED and the CBI had searched his premises. Read more here.
A dramatic turn of events on the election night on August 8 had led to the disqualification of two Congress MLAs, Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel, for violating the polling procedures. They were accused of having shown their ballot papers to BJP president Amit Shah. The Congress’ petition was first rejected by the RO, but after the intervention of the EC in New Delhi, the MLAs were found guilty. The disqualifications helped Patel secure enough votes to get elected for a fifth term in the Rajya Sabha. Apart from him, BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minsiter Smriti Irani were also elected to the House.
Read: Ahmed Patel wins Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat: All that happened. Click here.
Vaghela on Thursday also congratulated Patel for his win. “I congratulate Ahmed Bhai, acche sober aadmi hain, inka hisaab Dilli wale karna chahte the lekin ye jeet gaye,” he said, reported ANI.
(With inputs from agencies)