After facing the high and low tides of the political sea, the senior leader of Gujarat Congress and Political advisor of Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel won the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls confirming the fifth term for himself.
The victory of Ahmed Patel is not only a ray of hope for the disappointed Congress in Gujarat but it is also an indication that Modi-led BJP‘s dream of Congress-mukt Bharat is still far from reach. Following the footsteps of Shakersinh Vaghela, 6 more Congress MLAs has quit Congress and three out of them also joined BJP. One of the MLA to join BJP is Balwant Singh Rajput who immediately was fielded against Patel for the Rajya Sabha polls.
Four contestants had filed nominations for three seats of the Rajya Sabha in Gujarat. BJP President Amit Shah, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, newly joined BJP leader Balwant Singh Rajput and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel. The victory of Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were already marked but the main drama was all about the third seat.
Both BJP and Congress had gone to extreme limits to secure every crucial vote for their candidate. The win was a prestige point for the both the parties, Congress alleged BJP of bribing and luring away its 6 lawmakers to disrupt the calculated numbers preserved for Patel’s win. To take precautions and to keep its remaining MLAs intact Congress even flew is 44 MLAs to Bengaluru far from the reach of BJP, who returned to Gujarat only a day before the polls. BJP also tried its level best to pull the NCP and the lone JD(U) vote into their account and even succeeded partially.
Patel needed 45 votes to win and already had the sworn support of 44 of its MLAs. Other than these 44, Congress was counting on the support of NCP and JDU also. During the voting, all the calculations went up and down several times as it was reported that one of the 44 MLA had cross voted for BJP and also one of the NCP MLA had voted against Patel bringing down the magical number required to win. The twist came when Congress raised objections against two MLAs Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohil alleging that they have violated the secrecy of voting by showing their votes to BJP candidates and the objection soon reached the doorsteps of the Election Commission in Delhi. However, after much-heated discussion put forward by both the parties, the election commission declared these two votes invalid and asked them to be separated before counting the votes. With this, the required number to win came down to 44 as the total valid votes came down to 174.
This decision refueled the almost fading away Congress and confirmed the fifth term for Ahmed Patel.