The two Congress MLAs who showed their ballots in the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat to BJP leaders belonged to the Shankersinh Vaghela camp, and their votes were not being counted by the Congress camp for Ahmed Patel.
The votes of the two rebel Congress MLAs — Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohil — have been rejected by the Election Commission for violating the poll code.
Needing 45 votes to win in a reduced House of 176 after six Congress legislators resigned late last month, Ahmed Patel is believed to have 43 Congress votes in his favour besides one each of Nationalist Congress Party and Janata Dal (United). One among the 44 who had been flown to Bengaluru to prevent “further poaching” is said to have cross voted, leaving him with 43, plus the NCP and JD(U) members’ votes.
The Congress had 57 legislators, of whom six had quit, leaving 51. Seven of them, including maverick leader Shankersinh Vaghela, are rebels, and Ahmed Patel had discounted their votes.
So, though the votes of Congress rebels Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohil, had become the bone of contention, are of no consequence to Patel.
But the Congress has claimed the two MLAs may harm the numbers of either union Minister Smriti Irani or Congress turncoat Balwantsinh Rajput, who are the BJP candidates besides party chief Amit Shah.
Counting for elections in three crucial Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat had to be stopped on Tuesday evening with the Congress demanding cancellation of votes of the two of MLAs for displaying their ballot paper to the BJP’s polling agent.