How a lawyer-politician helped Ahmed Patel defeat BJP rival in Gujarat RS poll
Being a lawyer, Shaktisinh Gohil had fought many legal battles for the party in Gujarat. It was the experience gained through his days spent in court that helped the Congress emerge victorious in a battle that Patel was a hair’s breadth away from losing.india Updated: Aug 09, 2017 21:55 IST
While Tuesday’s Rajya Sabha election was widely viewed as a clash between two master strategists, Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel and BJP president Amit Shah, it was senior state leader Shaktisinh Gohil who scored the winning shot for the Congress camp.
Gohil, who was acting as the Congress’ agent in the polling station, first sought the invalidation of two votes cast by Congress rebel MLAs around 3 pm. The party leadership informed him that the returning officer has promised to look into the matter.
“I saw both Raghvji Patel and Bhola Gohil flashing their ballot papers to the BJP’s polling agent. This happened in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah, who was one of the three candidates fielded by the party,” the 57-year-old MLA said.
The two rebels, known for their proximity to political heavyweight Shankersinh Vaghela (who quit the Congress in July), had voted in favour of the BJP.
After the polling ended at 4 pm, the Congress leadership insisted that the state election commission watch the video and invalidate the votes cast by the two rebels because they had violated norms by showing their ballot papers to BJP members. Three hours later, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel claimed that the election authorities had rejected the Congress plea. “A report has been sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for its nod to begin the counting process,” he added.
And thus began a seven-hour-long drama that saw both BJP and Congress delegations making the rounds of the ECI’s office in Delhi to press for the demands of their respective parties. It was only past midnight that the election authorities disqualified the two votes and issued counting orders.
Being a lawyer, Gohil had fought many legal battles for the party in Gujarat. It was the experience gained through his days spent in court that helped the Congress emerge victorious in a battle that Patel was a hair’s breadth away from losing.
If the ballots cast by the two rebel MLAs were not disqualified, Patel would have required 45 votes – one more than what he eventually got – to win.
First Published: Aug 09, 2017 14:35 IST