Gujarat Rajya Sabha Polls: Setback for Ahmed Patel as NCP backs BJP

Posted August 09, 2017

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.

He said Balwantsinh Rajput, who had been put up by the BJP for the third Rajya Sabha seat in the state, was a friend of Ahmed Patel before he became his relative. The Congress says that the party whip will apply to Vaghela as well but the former Chief Minister says he will take a call today only.

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. In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the strength of the Congress has gone down to 51 from 57.

The Congress was forced to shift its MLAs out from Gujarat following a spate of resignations in the backdrop of Rajya Sabha elections.

Needing 45 first preference votes for a clean victory, Patel's day began with shockers from rebel leader Shankersinh Vaghela, who along with five of his supporters cross-voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party. While Upper House polls barely attract any attention, this one has grabbed eyeballs across the nation - right from horse trading allegations, MLAs trip to Bangalore and now to cross-voting. We believe the seven MLAs who didn't go to Bengaluru will also vote for him.

Meanwhile, BJP's national president Amit Shah on Monday held series of meetings at the party's State headquarters "Shri Kamalam" on the outskirts of Gandhinagar.

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The BJP has 122 seats including that of dissident Nalin Kotadiya.

This was done after six Congress MLAs quit the party with three of them going ahead and joining the BJP. Following this, they demanded cancellation of the two votes.

The Congress had whisked them away from the state for a "safer custody" after six of its MLAs deserted the party recently and three of them joined the BJP. That is the reason there is zero chance of the Congress Party winning this seat. I want to stay in politics but not in Congress.

#After the polls, Shah will make his debut in Parliament as a member of the Rajya Sabha.

"We will ask for an official copy, if the video has been tampered with then it's a serious a criminal act", we will go to Supreme Court, he added. The Congress cited in this regard a similar situation when EC invalidated a vote in Haryana polls 2016, when a Congress MLA mistakenly displayed the ballot paper. This would mean a contestant has to muster 45 votes. Surjewala alleged that the two legislators, instead of showing their ballots to party's election agent, displayed it to BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani, which he said, "should not be accepted".