New Delhi: In the election marred by defections and cross-voting, senior Congress leader and Political Advisor of Sonia Gandhi Ahmed Patel finally decalred winner of the Rajya Sabha election which he contested from Gujrata.
Election to elect three Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat assembly was held on Tuesday. BJP President Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani are the other two winners.
While Amit Shah and Smriti Iran bagged 46 votes each, Ahmed Patel got 44 votes - the exact number necessary to win the polls.
The Congress leader, who announced his victory on Twitter with 'Satyamev Jayate' (Truth shall prevail), was congratulated by his party immediately.
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
Ahmed Patel was counting on 44 of the party's 51 MLAs to support him. One of the 44 party MLAs voted against him, so he had 43 votes from his party.
It is not known yet who else voted for Ahmed Patel - he was counting on Chhotubhai Vasava, the lone Janata Dal (United) legislator, and one of two MLAs from Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to vote for him.
Earlier, the Election Commission of India late in the night Tuesday declared invalid the votes cast by two Congress MLAs, The decision followed after a series of meetings the commission had with the Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
Following the Election Commission's verdict, the counting of votes, which was held up because of the complaint by the Congress, started late in the night.
The Election Commission order, delivered close to midnight on Tuesday, actually helped Patel to sail through in the election, which was seeming increasingly impossible for Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, amid cross voting and defections in his party.
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 Congress asked the commission to invalidate the vote of two of its legislators who, after showing their ballot papers to the Congress election agent, also showed the BJP's agent how they had voted, which the party said violates polling norms.
The BJP rejected the Congress claim but the latter cited the example of Rajya Sabha polls when the vote of its senior leader Randeep Surjiwala was declared invalid due to similar reason.
Reacting on the EC ruling Gujarat Congress President Bharatsinh Solanki indirectly accused BJP president Amit Shah for what happened during the voting Tuesday morning.
"Everyone thought Amit Shah is always successful in unlawful, negative activities. But Gujarat proved this kind of authority won't work", he said while talking to reporters after the EC decision.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Patel accused the BJP of bribing Congress MLAs to ensure his defeat in the election.
"It was the most difficult election for me but was confident of my win. They (BJP) tried level best to buy our MLAs but failed and that is why I salute my MLAs. I don't want to comment on Amit Shah on personal level" Patel said.
Shankarsinh Vaghela had earlier said Ahmed Patel is his freind and he would vote for him. But, hours before voting Tuesday morning, he said Patel was losing and hence "there is no wisdom to vote for a loser".
In the end he was proved wrong.
The election results also showed that all efforts by Amit Shah to block Patel's consecutive 5th entry into Indian parliament's upper house have failed.
Earlier due to defections and fear of cross-voting, the Congress party had to send its party MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru. The MLAs came back to Gujarat on the voting day.
Despite all these precautions taken before the polls, one Congress MLA voted for the BJP candidate. But, his vote was declared invalid. This helped Ahmed Patel to finally win the election.