Ahmed Patel files RS poll nomination, says has Vaghela’s support too
The Congress heavyweight from Bharuch in Gujarat is facing the crucial election on August 8.india Updated: Jul 26, 2017 18:09 IST
Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, filed his nomination papers from Gujarat on Wednesday for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections amid raging infighting in the party’s state unit.
The Congress heavyweight from Bharuch in Gujarat is facing the crucial August 8 election soon after the presidential elections, wherein 11 MLAs of the party cross-voted in favour of the NDA candidate and now President Ram Nath Kovind.
Speaking to the media after filing nomination, Patel expressed confidence of winning the election, his fifth consecutive one. “As far as cross-voting is concerned, it had happened in past as well. But I am confident about the win. Three MLAs , including two from NCP and a JD(U), are supporting the Congress. Yesterday, 52 Congress MLAs were present at the party headquarters. Those not present due to heavy rains in the state will also vote for the Congress,’’ Patel said.
Patel said he also had a word with former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela, who resigned from the party last week, and said that the veteran leader assured him of his support. Vaghela is upset that the party didn’t make his the chief ministerial face in the assembly elections, scheduled for later this year.
For victory, Patel needs 47 votes of the total 57 Congress MLAs in the 182-seat assembly. In a party meeting called by the Congress on Tuesday, four MLAs, including Vaghela and his son Mahendrasinh, were not present.
Vaghela – who had said that the Congress not paying heed to upset MLAs resulted in the cross-voting– says he has the support of at least 10 Congress MLAs. Despite a party dictate to stay away from Vaghela’s birthday event on July 21, when he announced his resignation from the party, two MLAs were present at the venue and many others had a closed door meet with the leader before the event.