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BJP to back Rajput’s legal fight against Ahmed Patel
A day after victory of Congress’ Ahmed Patel over the BJP’s Balwantsinh Rajput in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls, the BJP candidate is gearing up to approach the High Court against the Election Commission’s decision to invalidate the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs. On its part, the Congress expelled eight of its MLAs who voted for Rajput.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the BJP would explore the legal options to challenge the EC’s decision.
“We don’t agree with the EC’s decision. We will take all possible legal action. If the two disputed votes, which were invalidated, had been counted, we would have won,” he said.
BJP’s spokesman Bharat Pandya told The Pioneer that the party would support Rajput’s legal battle. The rejected votes of Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohil turned the tide in favour of Ahmed Patel and brought down the numbers of votes required for his victory from 45 to 44.
Rajput is banking upon the video footage which, according to him and BJP leaders, does not indicate that the rebel Congress Legislators displayed their marked ballot to the BJP’s polling agent.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel termed the EC’s decision as “sad.”
The Congress party’s polling agent, Shaktisinh Gohil, had filed a complaint before the EC for the invalidation of both the votes. The BJP had also demanded invalidation of votes of two Congress MLAs Shailesh Parmar and Mitesh Garasia on similar lines, but the EC didn’t accept its plea.
If the EC had rejected the votes of Parmar and Garasia, the required votes for victory would have gone down to 43. In such a scenario, Patel would have got 42 votes. It means on the basis of second preferential votes, Rajput might have emerged victorious.
Meanwhile, the Congress expelled its eight rebel MLAs including former Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela and seven others a day after they defied the party whip and voted for BJP candidates.
“Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) has expelled all eight MLAs from the primary membership of the party for disobeying the party whip. GPCC has also barred from the party six other party leaders who resigned as members of the State Legislative Assembly in July,’’ GPCC spokesman Manish Doshi told The Pioneer.
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