BJP's defeated RS candidate challenges EC decision

Claudine Rigal
Août 19, 2017

Senior NCP leader Praful Patel today admitted that one of the two party MLAs had voted for the BJP candidate in the recent Gujarat Rajya Sabha election. Rajput, who quit the Congress ahead of the August 8 election, also contended that votes of two other Congress MLAs should be discounted, and he should be declared victor. Rajput polled 38 votes. Counting was held up after the Congress appealed to the election commission to cancel the vote of two of its rebels for showing their ballot papers to people other than the election agent.

Cross-voting by eight of its MLAs seemed to have come as a body blow to the Congress's chances.

Before resigning from the Congress, Balwantsinh Rajput was the party whip. The former Union minister said while Jayant Patel alias "Bosky' had voted for Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, another NCP MLA, Kandhal Jadeja, voted for the BJP in the election to the Upper House of Parliament from Gujarat". Had Patel got less than 44 votes, Rajput could have won with second preference votes from the BJP. Rajput's petition said that EC's order should be set aside, as it was "patently illegal". The party is expected to mover the Gujarat High Court and if it fails will approach the Supreme Court, party sources said. Rajput also alleged that Patel won because of "corrupt practices".

Asked about a possible alliance with the Congress for the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year, Patel said a decision to that effect would be taken by the NCP high- command. If these two votes get rejected, Rajput would get more votes, and hence he should be declared as elected to Rajya Sabha in place of Patel, the petition said. In the days preceding the polls, six Cong MLAs resigned from the party following rebellion by Shankersinh Vaghela. The BJP is frustrated following their debacle in the RS polls and this is a gimmick to remain in news.

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