While it is true that Rajya Sabha elections are about MLAs voting, and need not reflect sentiments on the ground, it is a fact that in the last ten years, the Congress has shown a lack of will to pluck the low-hanging fruit called Gujarat.
Shah referred to the recent victory of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, following a close contest for the third Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat against the BJP nominee. "I told him that I won't vote for Ahmed Patel till he apologises for this comment", he said.
"It was a conspiracy by the Congress (leaders) to win the election". BJP made his choice easy by exerting pressure to the extent of escorting him inside the hall where votes were to be cast. Of them, Balwantsinh Rajput, Tejashreeben Patel and Prahlad Patel joined the ruling party, while Ramsinh Parmar, Chhanabhai Chaudhary and Mansinh Chauhan were yet to take any decision on their future course of action.
But the points Ramesh raised warrant brainstorming, instead of the usual attempt by other Congressmen to push the issue under the carpet, especially now after Patel's win. However, the EC, after detailed deliberations and inspection of CCTV footage of the voting, accepted Congress' appeal to cancel votes of the two MLAs.
Modi said it was hard to run the affairs of a ruling party as the government often faced a lot of questions. He had to somehow wean away one among the four NCP, JDU and GPP MLAs to break BJP's advantage just hours before polling. However, the EC declared the two votes invalid, holding that Conduct of Election Rules "is very clear that the elector has to show his ballot paper only to the authorised representative of his party and no one else".
Patel also thanked party President Sonia Gandhi for the victory. The disqualifications helped Patel secure enough votes to get elected for a fifth term in the Rajya Sabha.
The BJP demanded the immediate counting of votes while the Congress demanded rejection of two disputed ballot papers of its MLAs. However, the Congress party need not be so ecstatic on this win and should rather focus on a few disturbing questions. It is a huge morale booster for the Congress and for Patel as well since he has emerged stronger and more powerful from the ordeal.
The victory came as a major boost for the Congress party.
Then, a more high-profile delegation of the Congress, comprising Ghulam Nabi Azad, P. Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Randeep Singh Surjewala and R.P.N. Singh, met the Election Commission again.