It was political terror, Ahmed Patel of the Congress said after his dramatic midnight win which saw him enter the Rajya Sabha for the 5th time. The Congress is also hoping to win back a few of its seven MLAs, out of its total 51 in the State Assembly, who did not go to Bengaluru and are believed to be close to the Vaghela camp. One of them, Balwantsinh Rajput, became the BJP's candidate to take on Patel. Ahmed Patel, however, was said to have got the votes of one of the two NCP MLAs, with the other going to BJP, and that of Chhotu Vasava, the lone JD (U) MLA.
Vaghela said if the Congress top leadership had not ignored his advice there would have been no need to send party MLAs to Gujarat. Through these crucial hours, both the Congress and the BJP argued their cases with the ECI, following which the commission ruled in favour of the Congress party. Officials said they recovered around Rs 300 crore of undisclosed income. The election has been necessitated following the completion of the tenures of three existing members union minister Smriti Irani and Dilip Pandya of BJP and Ahmed Patel of Congress.
Congress Member of Parliament (MP) D.K. Suresh on Sunday said that the Gujarat Congress is united and all the 44 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are ready to vote for Ahmed Patel in the election scheduled for August 8. The poll panel, finally, accepted the Congress's contention and asked the returning officer to reject the votes of its two MLAs and proceed with the counting.
"The commission has viewed the video recording of the votes cast by the two said MLAs and it has been observed therefrom that the said two electors violated the voting procedure and secrecy of the ballot papers cast by them when they exercised their right to vote", the ECI order said. "Congress conspired to influence the EC".
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Soon thereafter, a BJP delegation of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Dharmendra Pradhan met the EC seeking immediate counting of votes. And the law is very clear. The other six MLAs who did not join the 44 lawmakers in Bengaluru were his camp followers and were learnt to have voted for BJP.
Vaghela declared he didn't vote for Patel. No votes were shown by Congress MLAs to Amit Shah or Smriti Irani.
Earlier, Gohil had alleged that it was the BJP which was spreading "canards" that the Congress MLAs would first be flown to the national capital to meet Gandhi.
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