Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls: Congress leader Ahmed Patel retains Rajya Sabha seat; Amit Shah, Smriti Irani also win
EC after holding closed door meetings has accepted the plea of Congress to disqualify the votes of the two rebel Congress MLAs who reportedly displayed their ballot paper before the BJP agent.
A day of drama came to an end in the midnight hours as Congress veteran Ahmed Patel held on dearly to his Rajya Sabha seat retaining his place in the upper house with the support of 44 MLAs in Gujarat. Counting for the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections had to be stopped on Tuesday evening with the Congress demanding cancellation of votes of two of its legislators who cross-voted and displayed their ballot paper to the BJP's polling agent.
Two rebel Congress MLAs, Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohil, displayed their ballot paper before the BJP agent as well as the Congress counterpart, which was challenged by senior Congress leaders.
Later, Shaktisinh Gohil and Arjun Modhwadia of the Congress and state BJP president Jitu Vaghani viewed the videography of the polling. A report was sent to the Election Commission in Delhi on the incident.
The Commission after holding closed door meetings for hours finally accepted the plea of the Congress and rejected the votes of the two MLAs
Voting ended in Gujarat state assembly on Tuesday afternoon for the Rajya Sabha elections in which Ahmed Patel, the influential political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and BJP's Amit Shah, Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput are in the fray.
The elections have turned into a high-stake battle for the Congress in the backdrop of turbulence in the party following the surprise exit of Vaghela and the resignation of six of its MLAs recently.
Here are the updates as it happened:
Congress veteran Ahmed Patel gets 44 votes while BJP chief Amit Shah and Smriti Irani get 46 votes each - TV reports
BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani also win Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat. (ANI)
Ahmed Patel tweets that his Rajya Sabha poll win is a defeat of the most blatant use of money power, muscle power and abuse of state machinery .
This is not just my victory. It is a defeat of the most blatant use of money power,muscle power and abuse of state machinery— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) August 8, 2017
*Congress workers celebrate the victory of Ahmed Patel. However, official confirmation from the Election Commission is expected shortly.
*Congress on twitter congratulates Ahmed Patel for his Rajya Sabha win.
Heartiest congratulations to @ahmedpatel on his win!— Congress (@INCIndia) August 8, 2017
Congress leader Ahmed Patel retains Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat (ANI)
Counting of votes for the Gujarat Rajya Sabha seats begin in Gandhinagar.(ANI)
Counting of votes for the three Gujarat Rajya Sabha seat to start shortly. (ANI)
9 August , 12.30 AM:
Congress' Rajya Sabha candidate Ahmed Patel appreciates the order of the Election Commission. Says he salutes his MLAs, rank, file of the Congress Party.
Gujarat Deputy CM Nitinbhai Patel said the decision is sad and if the CD of voting is made public, not just us the whole nation will say the decision is wrong.
Big win for democracy; will boost morale of Congress worker. Ahmed Patel will win with big margin: Bharatsinh Solanki, Gujarat Cong Pres pic.twitter.com/IrYHbHWx9J— ANI (@ANI) August 8, 2017
*EC declares votes of Congress MLAs Bhola Bhai Gohil & Raghav Bhai Patel as invalid.(Read More)
*EC asks Returning Officer to start counting of votes after segregating the votes in question.
In a latest development, JD(U) has sacked Gujarat General Secretary Arun Srivastava for writing to RO over appointment of party's election agent when he was not directed to do so. (Read more)
BJP president Amit Shah has camped with other BJP party members outside the counting center in Gandhinagar awaiting the EC verdict and possibly the results of the polling.
Election Commission will convey order on counting of votes to Returning Officer at 11.30 pm. (ANI)
*The counting of votes has been delayed for five hours now and Officials are in closed door meeting. TV reports suggest the Election Commission decision will be announced soon.
*EC officials did not meet the Congress & BJP delegations after they approached the poll panel for a third time.
We want electoral process to be completed and counting to begin, says Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman after approaching Election Commission for a third time.
Now BJP delegation approaches Election Commission for the third time.
A Congress delegation of leaders including RPN Singh and Randeep Surjewala approach the Election Commission for a third time.
Have full faith in EC, Congress's allegations have no substance and they are giving wrong precedents: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after meeting EC again. (Read more)
A BJP delegation of Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Arun Jaitley had earlier met the poll panel had requested to reject the plea of Congress. Now, Arun Jaitley has again arrived at the Election Commission office and the BJP delegation meets poll panel one more time.
There is enough evidence that the ballot paper was seen by people other than those authorized. EC must reject these ballot papers as it did in Haryana in June 2016, says former Union Minister P Chidambaram.
Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram addresses the media at the Election Commission in New Delhi, says showing of the ballot is a violation of rules. - TV reports
BJP delegation including Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Ravi Shankar Prasad arrive at Election Commission again.
One of our MLAs had mistakenly showed his vote in Haryana, and his vote was rejected, same was done in Gujarat so should be rejected: Anand Sharma to ANI.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad said that the poll panel has been requested to reject Congress's plea as once votes are cast then nothing can be done; the process was fair.
The complaint was filed immediately but returning officer didn't do anything. I'm very much confident let counting take place: Ahmed Patel, Congress to ANI.
Why did the Congress wait for five hours, and is making baseless allegations, asks BJP's Ravishankar Prasad outside the Election commission office in New Delhi.
Delhi: BJP delegation including union ministers MA Naqvi, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan going to Election Commission pic.twitter.com/pnOeUfU2p5— ANI (@ANI) August 8, 2017
We requested that Congress, BJP, and the Presiding officer should jointly watch the video on cross-voting, but the BJP objected, and are waiting for the EC decision: Arjun Modhwadia of Congress to ANI.
Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar, Nirmala Sitharaman also reach Election Commission.
Election Commission meeting over Congress complaint underway; the decision to be announced today, say sources.
BJP delegation including union ministers MA Naqvi, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan going to Election Commission.
Congress complaint to EC demanding quashing of votes of 2 Cong MLAs who voted BJP and allegedly showed votes publicly pic.twitter.com/xf7glnABQ8— ANI (@ANI) August 8, 2017
All reports and Congress' complaint have been sent to the Election Commission in Delhi. Counting will begin once a reply is received.
Congress' Randeep Surjewala and RPN Singh approach the Election Commission to demand quashing of votes of two Congress MLAs alleging that they voted for BJP and publicly showed votes.
Nitish Kumar had asked our Gujarat MLA Chhotubhai Vasava to vote for BJP and he voted BJP: KC Tyagi, JDU MP and spokesperson to ANI.
Two Congress MLAs Bholabhai and Raghavji Bhai voted for BJP and publicly showed their votes. We will ask for an official copy, if the video is found to be tampered, then it is a serious a criminal act, we will go to SC for that: Shaktisinh Gohil.
The lone JD(U) MLA in Gujarat, Chhotu Vasava, today said he voted for Congress' nominee Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha polls as the ruling BJP has done little for tribal people and the poor. [READ FULL REPORT]
2: 30 PM:
2: 12 PM: Number are in our favour, result should be good, I am confident and optimistic: Ahmed Patel. ( ANI)
2: 11 PM: Voting for Gujarat Rajya Sabha Election 2017 has ended. (ANI)
1: 40 PM: A day after Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that his party is in ‘existential crisis’, the grand old party on Tuesday flatly rejected the assertion. (ANI) [READ FULL REPORT]
1: 30 PM: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday made a fervent appeal to former party leader Shankersinh Vaghela over the Gujarat Rajya Sabha Polls, reminding him not to forget what the grand old party has done for him over the past years. (ANI) [READ FULL REPORT]
1: 20 PM:
12: 45 PM: Congress MLA Dharshi Khanpura cast his vote himself after EC officer denied his proxy voting request. (ANI)
12: 30 PM: Victory of our candidates certain. Party had been working for this since the announcement of election dates: Former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. (ANI)
12: 25 PM: "We have got 43 votes so far, 1 MLA is going to vote. Chhotubhai Vasava (JDU) publicly said he voted for Ahmed bhai, " said Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia. (ANI). [FULL REPORT]
12: 20 AM: Latest secene out side the Gujarat assembly.
11: 52 AM: On the other hand, Jairam Ramesh today did not respond to questions on his yesterday's statement about Congress facing existential crisis ahead of today's poll. (ANI)
10: 50 AM: "Things blown out of proportion because of Ahmed Patel. He's in risky situation , half of his people might end up voting for BJP, " NCP leader Majeed Memon. (ANI)
10: 27 AM: Voted according to whip issued by high command, after all we are the partner of UPA: NCP MLA Jayant Patel. (ANI)
10: 24 AM: I have cast my vote. In a democracy the voting is secret: Congress MLA Mahendra Sinh Vaghela. (ANI)
10: 19 AM:
10: 15 AM: Congress MLAs arrive at state assembly from Neejanand resort in Anand district. (ANI)
10: 00 AM: Two MLAs voted for BJP despite being from Congress. Shakti Singh Gohil has taken objection against this: Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia. (ANI)
9: 52 AM: Two more MLAs, Dharmendra Jadeja and Raghavji Patel vote for Dharmendra Jadeja, another former Congress leader, who is now contesting against Ahmed Patel for the crucial third Rajya Sabha seat. (ANI)
9: 47 AM:
9: 45 AM: Shankersinh Vaghela ditches his former party Congress, says that he has not voted for Patel. (ANI) [FULL REPORT]
9: 40 AM: "When I am confident, party is confident we are going to win. Wait for the result to come," Ahmed Patel. (ANI)
9: 03 AM: Voting begins at the Gujarat assembly. (ANI)
9: 00 AM: BJP Rajya Sabha candidates Smriti Irani & Amit Shah arrive at Gujarat Legislative Assembly; state Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also reaches the house. (ANI)
Gujarat: Preparations for Rajya Sabha polls underway in State Legislative Assembly in Gandhinagar pic.twitter.com/zYyJhIlOqS— ANI (@ANI_news) August 8, 2017
A candidate will require 45 votes for a straight win in the poll, and the BJP with 121 MLAs can secure easy victories for BJP chief Shah and union minister Irani. The party will be left with 31 surplus votes for Rajput, who will require the backing of rebel MLAs of the Congress and smaller parties to win.
Rajput till recently was Congress' chief whip in the House.
It is after a gap of about two decades that a contest is happening in Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat, where official nominees of major parties used to get elected unopposed after the BJP fielded a Congress rebel against Patel, who is seeking a fifth term.
According to Election Commission officials, a candidate would require one-fourth of the total number of votes plus one to get elected. This would mean a contestant has to muster 45 votes.
The MLAs have to give their preferential votes indicating first choice, second, third, fourth (as per the number of candidates) or they can choose NOTA, they said.