New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday won the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat in a cliffhanger contest in which the top BJP leadership staked its all by backing a Congress defector.
Patel’s win is a severe blow to the BJP.
Amit Shah, BJP President, also won the election to make his debut in parliament while Union Minister Smriti Irani got another term in the upper house.
Patel after winning tweeted, “This is not just my victory. It is a defeat of the most blatant use of money power, muscle power and abuse of state machinery.”
Patel thanked his party MLAs, workers and the leadership for the victory and said under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress will get strength and win Gujarat assembly election.
The Congress leader got 44 votes that was just enough to beat his rival Congress defector Balwantsinh Rajput and earn a fifth term in Rajya Sabha while Shah and Irani got 46 and 45 votes respectively in the counting that was delayed by over nine hours because of the Congress challenge in the Election Commission first and the BJP’s objections before the returning officer past midnight.
In a jibe at the BJP top leadership, Patel prayed to God that everybody be given good sense.
Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who was part of a Congress delegation that met the Election Commission on Tuesday seeking rejection of votes of two Congress rebels said: “Money, muscle and manipulation could not win in the Guarat Rajya Sabha elections.”
“BJP can break a few weak Congress MLAs but BJP cannot break the Congress party,” he said in his reaction.