EC declares votes of 2 Congress MLAs who had cross-voted invalid

BJP echoed the Congress view and urged EC to remove NOTA provision

BJP echoed the Congress view and urged EC to remove NOTA provision

In a jolt to the Congress, two party leaders admitted that they have voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections.

"It is after the returning officer did not act that we have approached the Central Election Commission", Patel said.

The MLAs were moved to a private resort near Bengaluru on July 29 following the resignation of six Congress legislators.

Before the six MLAs left Congress to join BJP, Congress veteran Shankersinh Vaghela also resigned from the party. Congress has fielded party's senior leader Ahmed Patel as its lone candidate.

The Congress is also fighting against the None Of The Above (NOTA) provision in the polls apprehending turncoats in its own fold.

Each contestant needs 45 votes to win The Assembly's strength is 176, out of which BJP has 122, which makes the victory of Shah and Irani a foregone conclusion.

The election has been necessitated following the completion of the tenures of three existing members Union Minister Smriti Irani and Dilip Pandya of BJP and Ahmed Patel of Congress.

Prasad further said that the Congress is losing its cool as it has realised that it is about to taste one of the most embarrassing defeats. Shah has tried to muddy the waters by fielding a third candidate, a relative of rebel Congress leader Shankar Singh Vaghela, to take on Patel. "There is enough evidence that the ballot paper [of the two Congress MLAs] were seen by people other than those authorised", the former finance minister said.

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"However, out of 44 votes of our MLAs that we had expected to get, only one MLA has cross-voted and we have got two more votes", he claimed.

Ahmed Patel, who today met Congress MLAs after they returned from their Bengaluru sojourn, said he was confident of his victory. Which is why after committing in public he did not vote for Ahmed Patel.

And on the other hand, by shifting its MLAs to Karnataka in the midst of flood situation in Banaskantha, the party has given BJP the much-needed vacuum in the traditional Congress stronghold with the saffron party working overtime to gain grounds there.

Congress MLA Dharmendra Jadeja stated that the Congress party hasn't been tuning in to their pioneers for a year and henceforth he voted in favor of BJP.

"It is not even sure that all the 44 MLAs of the Congress will vote for the same person, they may also do cross voting".

He said Balwantsinh Rajput, who had been put up by the BJP for the third Rajya Sabha seat in the state, was a friend of Ahmed Patel before he became his relative. This is why Congress appears to be making a mountain out of a molehill in the vote counting process. NCP has two and JD (U) has one MLA in the house.

Each of the four candidates contesting the elections in Gujarat has to win 45 first preference votes.

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