[The relief for Congress marks a setback for BJP, particularly party chief
Amit Shah who scripted the audacious run on Congress's vote bank, as well
as for Congress rebel Shankersinh Vaghela who teamed up with the saffron
party to put the contest on knife's edge. It was Vaghela's man Balwantsinh
Rajput who was Patel's challenger. Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti
Irani scored easy victories.
Coming after a string of setbacks — the collapse of Bihar's 'secular'
coalition being the most recent one — and the lengthening doubts about the
party's resilience, the victory will taste sweet for Congress.]

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/in-gujarat-rs-seat-cliffhanger-sonias-top-adviser-snatches-victory-off-last-ball/articleshow/59978409.cms

In Gujarat RS seat cliffhanger, Sonia’s top adviser snatches victory off
last ball

TNN | Updated: Aug 9, 2017, 08:20 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS
The relief for Congress marks a setback for BJP
It is also a setback for Congress rebel Shankersinh Vaghela who teamed up
with the saffron part to put the contest on knife’s edge
This is a morale-boosting victory for Congress ahead of Gujarat polls, to
be held later this year
In Gujarat RS seat cliffhanger, Sonia’s top adviser snatches victory off
last ball

AHMEDABAD/NEW DELHI: Ahmed Patel, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political
secretary, won a bitterly-fought battle for a prestigious Rajya Sabha seat,
defeating BJP in a high-stakes contest ahead of Gujarat polls scheduled
later this year.

The morale-boosting victory came after days of intense tussle between the
two sides for each vote and on a day of dramatic developments which saw
Election Commission rejecting the votes of two Congress MLAs who voted for
BJP.

Celebrations broke out in Ahmedabad once party managers declared that Patel
had got 44 votes — just enough for him to save the battle from going into
the second preference round where BJP would have had a clear advantage
because of the sheer numbers it has in the electoral college.

Patel took to Twitter and thanked all his supporters.
 Follow
Ahmed Patel ✔ @ahmedpatel
सत्यमेव जयते
1:50 AM - Aug 9, 2017
 1,789 1,789 Replies   2,870 2,870 Retweets   6,849 6,849 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
 Follow
Ahmed Patel ✔ @ahmedpatel
BJP stands exposed of personal vendetta and political terror. People of
Gujarat will give them a befitting reply in this year's election
2:02 AM - Aug 9, 2017
 386 386 Replies   1,346 1,346 Retweets   3,152 3,152 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy

Later at night, the returning officer announced the final numbers in the
polls according to which Ahmed Patel secured 4400 votes, BJP's Amit Shah
got 4600, Smriti Irani, too, got 4600, and Balwantsinh Rajput got 3800
votes.

Going by Congress's calculation, Patel could have pulled it off with the
support of 43 party MLAs and Jayant Patel, one of the two NCP MLAs in the
House. Congress's claim of support from BJP rebel Nithinbhai Kathodia and
lone JD(U) member Chhotubhai Vasava were disputed by BJP sources who did
not rule out the possibility of NCP's Patel going along with Congress.
BJP's determination to snatch a seat which Congress, ordinarily speaking,
was set to win and Congress's resolve to hold on to it turned it into
perhaps the most suspenseful contest for a Rajya Sabha seat.

The relief for Congress marks a setback for BJP, particularly party chief
Amit Shah who scripted the audacious run on Congress's vote bank, as well
as for Congress rebel Shankersinh Vaghela who teamed up with the saffron
party to put the contest on knife's edge. It was Vaghela's man Balwantsinh
Rajput who was Patel's challenger. Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti
Irani scored easy victories.

Coming after a string of setbacks — the collapse of Bihar's 'secular'
coalition being the most recent one — and the lengthening doubts about the
party's resilience, the victory will taste sweet for Congress.
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A defeat for 'AP', as the Congress leader is known, would have been a
morale shattering blow for the party ahead of assembly elections in Gujarat
where BJP is widely seen as the frontrunner.

Top Comment
With 57 MLAs Congress struggled so much to win one seat which required only
47 votes.. Congress needs to introspect itself... Its high time to get rid
of Rahul and have a strong person lead the party..
Joy Banerjee

It would have been a personal loss for Sonia Gandhi for whom Patel has been
the most trusted aide. In contrast, the narrow defeat should rankle BJP,
considering that it raised the stakes high for itself in a battle which was
for Congress to lose. It is the first setback for Shah who has been on a
remarkable victory run, with a number of impressive wins in state polls
under his belt. The rejection of two votes will train the spotlight on his
"take-no-prisoners" style, with Congress already accusing BJP of playing
foul, using money and political power to subvert democracy.

Fortunes of the two parties fluctuated through the day. Congress had seemed
confident till late afternoon, but optimism quickly gave way to pessimism
because of fears of desertion and sabotage. The fear, however, turned out
to be misplaced as Patel managed to secure 44 votes or just about enough to
make it to Rajya Sabha for the fifth time on the strength of first
preference votes.

Click here to watch the video


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