Gujarat Rajya Sabha Election 2017: Disqualification of two votes may not be enough to save Ahmed Patel

Hunt for a Rajya Sabha seat from the Gujarat quota is increasingly becoming an uphill task for Congress marksman Ahmed Patel as dramatic scenes during voting and uncertainty over counting have reduced the whole process to a soap opera with open mudslinging over allegations of horse-trading by the Congress against the BJP.

File image of Congress leader Ahmed Patel. PTI

File image of Congress leader Ahmed Patel. PTI

The Congress even approached the Election Commission seeking the cancellation of votes of two of its MLAs Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavjibhai Patel for alleged violation of norms.

The Congress claimed that voting procedure has been violated under Rule 39 of The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 by these two legislators hence their votes should be cancelled.

Rule 39 states: "All the ballot papers on which the words "Cancelled: voting procedure violated" are recorded, shall be kept in a separate cover which shall bear on its face the words "Ballot papers: voting procedure violated".

Before voting started on Tuesday morning, the requirement for Patel to win the Rajya Sabha for the fifth time was 45 votes which might change in the event of a cancellation.

In the event, the Election Commission decides to cancel the two votes, there will be 42 valid votes from the Congress MLAs camp but not necessarily for the party itself. Patel is, however, assured to get one vote from the lone JD(U) MLA who in defiance of his party whip has claimed to have voted for the Congress leader. One of the two MLAs of the NCP voted for the Congress while the other opted for the BJP candidate.

In the event cancellation of the two votes happen, the total number of votes will come down to 174 from 176. Six MLAs of the Congress have already resigned from the House and have joined the BJP in the House of 182.

This is no respite for Patel as there is also a possibility that cross-voting might have happened and it is not an act that can lead to disqualification of votes. Also, there is another worry of rejection of votes if proper voting norms were not followed.

Patel, who is literally living on the edge, as far as this poll is concerned, has probably emptied out all the aces up his sleeve.

Before the six MLAs left Congress to join BJP, Congress veteran Shankersinh Vaghela also resigned from the party. The Congress strength in the Gujarat Assembly now stands at 44 from 51 with the departure of Vaghela and the other six MLAs.

Updated Date: Aug 08, 2017 20:23 PM

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