And Now, Gujarat Has a Version of the Florida Ballot
Drama shifted to Delhi as Cong and BJP made three visits to EC
Gandhinagar: The drama unfold in waves, one after another in the Gujarat capital on the day of the Rajya Sabha elections to three seats. Less than an hour after polling began, Congress rebel Shankersinh Vaghela announced that he had not voted for his ‘dear friend’ Ahmed Patel, as he was losing the election. Vaghela had earlier claimed that he had “reserved his vote for Ahmed Bhai.” Ta k i n g c u e f r o m Va g h e l a , h i s son Mahendrasinh Vaghela and camp followers Raghavji Patel, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Bholabhai Gohil, Ashok Chaudhary also voted for BJP. As the day progressed, one of the 44 quarantined Congress MLAs also voted for BJP increasing the worry lines on Ahmed Patel’s face, though he maintained a stoic face of confidence reiterating his confidence in his MLAs. The poll math was queered when NCP MLA Kandhal Jadeja sided with the BJP but his party colleague Jayant Patel voted for Ahmed Patel. Sources in BJP and the Vaghela camp, however, were certain that Jayant had actually cast his vote for the BJP.
Similar confusion shrouded over the vote of Chhotu Vasava the lone JDU MLA in Gujarat. While Vasava hobnobbed with the BJP leaders when he came to cast his vote, he went on to claim that he had voted for Ahmed Patel. He told the media that he felt pity for the Congress and voted for the party’s candidate. The kingmaker of Congress Ahmed Patel soon went to meet Vasava and thanked him for his support. With Vasava’s one vote and one of NCP, Patel looked poised to win as he reportedly had also secured 43 Congress votes. To make the cut, all he needed were 45 votes. He and senior Congress leader Arjun Modvadia soon claimed victory.
But the twist in the tale came at 5:00 pm, when the counting was to star t. Congress election agent Shaktisinh Gohil raised an objection against t wo cross-voters Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohil, alleging that the duo had shown their votes to BJP polling agent apart from its party president Amit Shah in violation of election rules. He demanded that the video recording of the voting be examined and counting should not begin without resolving the issue. The drama soon shifted to Delhi and the bigwigs of Congress and BJP made three to four representations before the Election Commission. By the time August 8 had ended, it was not clear whether Ahmed Patel had won. That will be known only after another sunrise.
Vaghela announced that he had not voted for his ‘dear friend’ Ahmed Patel, as he was losing the election