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When Ahmed Patel trumped the BJP in its own game in 2017 RS polls


Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who passed away on Wednesday, was a veteran of many political battles. Ahmed Patel had managed to trump the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat in what was a battle of prestige for both.

Patel ended up victorious despite the Saffron Party’s attempts to ensure that he did not get a fifth term to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

The BJP won the two other Rajya Sabha seats in 2017, one by BJP chief Amit Shah and another by union minister Smriti Irani.

For the Congress, the victory in the Rajya Sabha elections was a morale booster showing that the Grand Old Party was equally adept at Machiavellian tricks.

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After his victory in the 2017 elections, Ahmed Patel had called the BJP’s failure to capture his seat as the most blatant use of muscle power and abuse of state machinery.

How Ahmed Patel won his RS seat

Ahmed Patel won the seat narrowly with just the 44 votes that he needed. The Election Commission held the two votes of rebel Congress leaders invalid after they showed their ballot papers to the BJP’s election agent.
BJP’s Amit Shah and Smriti Irani each got 46 votes in that election.

The invalid votes reduced the strength of the house to 174 and so each candidate needed 44 votes to win a Rajya Sabha seat. Earlier, before the votes were invalidated, Ahmed Patel had needed 45 votes, which at that point was difficult for the Congress to manage as the party suffered several defections.

Counting of votes was delayed by over six hours after the Congress petitioned the Election Commission seeking disqualification of two rebel legislators.

The results were later declared at 2 am and Ahmed Patel was declared victorious although there was a cross-voting from his party.

Ahead of the election, six Congress legislators left the party and three of them joined the BJP.


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