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14 Apr 2024, Edition - 3197, Sunday

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India News

Ahmed Patel checks into Rajya Sabha for a fifth term: All you need to know in 10 points



Ahead of the crucial Gujarat Assembly election scheduled to take place end of this year, the win for Congress in the Rajya Sabha election is likely to be a morale booster for the party’s workers in the state.

Edited by Kritika Banerjee

With veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel clincing a dramatic Rajya Sabha win in Gujarat last night, the grand old party has erupted in celebration.

Ahmed Patel’s victory will be a major boost for the Congress which was dealt a severe blow by the Amit Shah-Narendra Modi juggernaut in the recent Assembly elections in five states.

Ahead of the crucial Gujarat Assembly election scheduled to take place end of this year, the win for Congress in the Rajya Sabha election is likely to be a morale booster for the party’s workers in the state.

“This is not my victory. It is a defeat of the most blatant use of money power, muscle power and abuse of state machinery,” Ahmed Patel tweeted last night.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) also congratulated Ahmed Patel for his Rajya Sabha win. TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today tweeted, “@ahmedpatel ji congratulations for a big fight. Good fight. Good win”.

Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who was critical of the party’s Delhi leadership in the wake of the MCD election debacle, also congratulated Ahmed Patel for his win. “Congratulations to the brave @ahmedpatel for this well deserved victory. It is this indomitable spirit that @INCIndia is known for,” she said.


Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, secured 44 votes, just about enough to beat Balwantsihn Rajput of the BJP for a fifth term in Rajya Sabha.

The other Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat were BJP chief Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani who got 46 votes each.

The election day was marked by drama, allegations, counter-allegations and a pitched battle at the office of the Election Commission.

The Election Commission upheld the Congress complaint seeking rejection of two votes of Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghavji Bhai Patel, both of whom are loyalists of Shankarsinh Vaghela, on the ground that they had shown their ballots to Amit Shah and Smriti Irani against the Conduct of Election Rules.

The Election Commission rejected the arguments of the BJP delegation, led by Arun Jaitley, that the Commission had no power to intervene in the matter as returning officer is the statutory authority to decide the validity or otherwise of ballot paper.

The BJP’s argument was countered by the Congress which asserted the Election Commission was the only authority to decide on the issue, keeping in mind the precedents set by the Commission in Haryana last year and in Rajasthan in 2000.

As two votes of the MLAs were deemed disqualified, Ahmed Patel needed 44 votes to win the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat.

Ahmed Patel’s Rajya Sabha win, in his own words, was the most difficult one. Ahead of the Rajya Sabha election, the Congress was hit by defections of its MLAs, with some joining the BJP–the BJP named former Congress leader Balwantsinh Rajput as its third Rajya Sabha candidate from Gujarat.

The Congress, in a bid to keep its flock of remaining MLAs together, flew them to Bengaluru and kept them in a luxury resort for 10 days. During the 44 MLAs’ stay at the resort, the Income Tax department raided the property and picked up Karnataka minister D K Shivakumar for questioning for alleged tax evasion. The Congress, however, cried foul over the IT raids and called it witch-hunt.

On the day of polling, Congress rebel Shankersinh Vaghela said that he has not voted for Ahmed Patel as the Congress is not going to win the election. After much speculation and reports of cross-voting, Ahmed Patel was finally announced the winner.

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