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Ahmed Patel re-election to Rajya Sabha: EC meets after Cong complaint; Vote count on hold

Tuesday August 8, 2017 7:53 PM, & Agencies

Ahmed Patel

New Delhi/Gandhinagar:
The Election Commission of India went into a meeting after Congress approached it demanding quashing of votes of two of its MLAs who said they voted for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate despite the whip by the party to vote for Ahmed Patel.

A decision by the Election Commission of India on the Congress demand is expected any moment.

However Gujarat Election Commission put on hold the counting of votes till a decision till it receives a directive from the central election commission.

The Congress has asked the Election Commission to invalidate the vote of two of its legislators who, after showing their ballot papers to the Congress election agent, also showed the BJP's agent how they had voted, which the party said violates polling norms.

The attempt is to bring down the total number of votes needed by each candidate today.

After Congress complaint, BJP leaders too approached the Election Commission to counter the Congress's objections. Counting of votes has been delayed because of this.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who led the BJP delegation, addressed media after holding the meeting with the Election Commission and said that Congress has been levelling baseless allegations against the BJP.

"When they realised they were losing, they came up with these baseless allegations", he said.

"We have requested the Election Commission to reject Congress's plea as once votes are cast then nothing can be done", he added.

Patel needs 45 Gujarat legislators to have voted for him to win his Rajya Sabha seat consecutive for fifth term..

Ahmed Patel, political Secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was counting on 44 of the Congress' 51 MLAs to support him - the others seen as loyalists of rebel leader Shankarsinh Vaghela. But one of the 44 is confirmed to have voted against him.

Shankarsinh Vaghela had earlier said Ahmed Patel is his freind and he would vote for him. But, hours before voting Tuesday morning, he said Patel was losing and hence "there is no wisdom to vote for a loser".

Voting to elect three Rajya Sabha members held in Gujarat assembly ended at about 03:00 pm. Besides, Ahmed Patel, BJP president AMit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani are the other contestants. The two are sure to win as the BJP has a total of 121 MLAs in their support.



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