Ahmed Patel Stuns BJP, Steals Last Minute Victory in Gujarat

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Terming Congress' objections as "baseless", a delegation of BJP leaders, including Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal, approached the EC demanding immediate counting of votes, contending that validity of votes once put in ballot boxes can not be questioned. But the DM Patel the Returning officer (RO) in Gujarat rejected his request.

For the three seats, BJP had contested national president Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Congress defector Balwantsinh Rajput. While the Congress continued to cry foul about the BJP's "dirty tricks department", Amit Shah expectedly stayed focused on the RS battle. According to the last update, the Election Commission was to take a call on Congress's demand of quashing the two votes.

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. Soon after the delegation left, some BJP leaders again returned following reports that yet another Congress delegation was to reach the EC office.

A Congress leader admitted that the leadership made a mistake and underestimated Vaghela. One of these was Balwantsinh Rajput. If Congress would have lost in the Rajya Sabha, it would have been hard for the party to win the trust of people in the state as an alternative to BJP. Congress stands dissipated from 57 to just 43 MLAs in the state and many more could be on their way out. Rajput got 38 votes. Sources said, he showed his ballot paper to Cong's polling agent Shaktisinh Gohil who tried to argue and reason out with him. But the result, in no way, adversely impacts the BJP in its electoral fortunes in coming polls. Six Congress MLAs resigned before the polls.

Considered one of the most influential Congress leaders, Patel managed to scrape through for his fifth Rajya Sabha term courtesy the Election Commission's move to invalidate votes of two Congress legislators who allegedly cross-voted. He found it hard to vote against the BJP for fear of reprisal from its bosses.

Azad also said that the BJP is free to challenge the verdict in any court. "If I'm not with Congress, this is understood where I will be", Raghavji Patel said making his intentions clear. Patel said they complained earlier but officials did not take note of their complaint. "The whip arrived on Tuesday morning but Jadeja cross-voted", Jayant Patel told Hindustan Times. "All three candidates of BJP will win tomorrow".

If we assume that NCP is telling the truth, then either "rebel" BJP MLA Kotadiya or JD (U)'s Vasava is not telling the truth.

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