Ahmed Patel retains Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat, Amit Shah becomes MP for the 1st time
Ahmedabad: Congress veteran and Sonia Gandhi aide Ahmed Patel retained his Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat, after an election drama that continued way past midnight on Tuesday.
Patel secured 44 votes to retain his Rajya Sabha seat, after the Election Commission invalidated two votes by two rebel Congress MLAs ahead of counting that started at 11.30pm. BJP president Amit Shah and textile minister Smriti Irani too have won in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections.
“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,” Patel said in a tweet soon after the results. This year’s Rajya Sabha election, which he contested for renomination to the Upper House for the fifth time, was seen the toughest challenge of his political career so far.
Patel needed 45 votes to win the Rajya Sabha elections by way of first preference, but garnering those votes turned out to be a tough task. Six Congress MLAs resigned before the polls. Congress stalwart Shankersinh Vaghela added to the pain on voting day by declaring that he hadn’t voted for Patel. The cross-voting by Congress MLAs made matters worse, but Patel got a major respite after the EC invalidated the votes by rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavji Patel.
It was still going to be a tight-rope walk as Karamsinh Patel, who was among the group of 44 MLAs who were whisked away to Bengaluru, defied the Congress whip and cross-voted. But the vote of an NCP MLA boosted Patel’s numbers and things turned in his favour.
It was, however, the EC’s decision to cancel two votes, which meant Patel needed one vote less or first-preference votes from 44 MLAs instead of 45 needed earlier, that saw him emerge as a winner in this nail-biting election.
Patel’s victory in Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections, ahead of state elections in December, should instil some confidence in the Congress, which has been out of power in the state for more than two decades now.
The Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections were held for three seats. The BJP fielded three candidates—Shah, Irani and turncoat Siddhpur MLA Balvantsinh Rajput—and Congress its veteran Ahmed Patel.
Patel retaining his Rajya Sabha seat is a setback for Shah, as the elections were see as a prestige battle between the BJP and the Congress. The BJP was looking to embarrass the Congress by ensuring the four-time member of parliament’s loss. The Congress wanted him to win at all costs.