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Cross-voting may mar Ahmed Patel’s RS prospects

Last Modified Tuesday, 8 August 2017 (14:37 IST)
Gandhinagar: The fate of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor Ahmed Patel, seeking a fifth term in the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, hangs in balance as polling for three seats, which began this morning, reached half-way through amid speculation of cross-voting by about half-a-dozen Congress MLAs in favour of the BJP nominees. While BJP chief and union minister appeared all set to win the Rajya Sabha elections, the fate of lone Congress nominee Patel seemed uncertain.

Out of 51 Congress legislators, six led by rebel leader Shankersinh Vaghela are reported to have cross-voted for the BJP while two more Congress MLAs were likely to follow suit. In order to win, would need a minimum of 45 first preference votes. “I have not voted for the Congress candidate Ahmed Patel as he does not stand the chance of winning,” said former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela

I am sorry to say that my friend Ahmed Patel would not get the votes of even 40 Congress MLAs, Mr Vaghela said. Congress had taken 44 of its MLAs to Bangalore to prevent the BJP from poaching them. In addition to the 44, the Congress nominee is banking on the support of two Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs and lone Janata Dal (United) legislator Chhotubhai Vasava. However, one member Kandhal Jadeja, who touched the feet of BJP president Amit Shah when he came to vote, is believed to have voted for the BJP, while another legislator of his party, Jayant Patel ‘Bosky’ is learnt to have voted for Mr Patel.

Mr Patel would be able to scrape through the victory post only if all the 44 Bengaluru-returned MLAs remain with him and one NCP and another JD-U MLA also voted for him. With the block of 122 BJP MLAs, Amit Shah and Smriti Irani are expected to have an easy win, while the third BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput, who had recently defected from the Congress, may lose if Mr Patel wins. The counting of votes is expected to be completed and results declared around 1700 hrs today. (UNI)
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