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Ahmed Patel Makes it Clear: He is Here to Stay in Gujarat Politics

Ahmed Patel's nomination assumes significance in the backdrop of 11 Congress MLAs from the state voting against the Congress candidate during the Presidential elections that concluded recently.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:July 26, 2017, 8:50 PM IST
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Ahmed Patel Makes it Clear: He is Here to Stay in Gujarat Politics
File photo of Ahmed Patel
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is also the political secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat on Wednesday.

Patel's nomination assumes significance in the backdrop of 11 Congress MLAs from the state voting against the Congress candidate during the Presidential elections that concluded recently.

Speaking after filing his nomination Patel expressed confidence of easily winning the Rajya Sabha seat. "I have been elected to the Rajya Sabha five times consecutively and expect to win the sixth time too I do not see any possibility of cross-voting by Congress MLAs," he said.

Replying to a question by News18 that he could have chosen a safer seat, perhaps from another state, in the wake of the recent rebellion by MLAs who support Shankersinh Vaghela, Patel said, “No, there is no scope for that. I have always contested from Gujarat and will always contest only from Gujarat.”

Patel requires 46 votes to make it to the Rajya Sabha. The Congress has 57 MLAs and also enjoys the support of two NCP and one JD-U MLA. The Rajya Sabha election on August 8 has become interesting in the wake of the cross-voting in the presidential election.

However, the Rajya Sabha election is quite different from the Presidential polls. MLAs who are found to have cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha elections are liable to be disqualified for 6 years. This effectively means that those Congress MLAs who do not vote for Patel will not be able to contest both the 2017 as well as the 2022 Gujarat Assembly Elections. “I do not see any cross-voting taking place in the Rajya Sabha elections. No MLA would risk getting disqualified for 6 years,” GPCC chief Bharatsinh Solanki said.

In an interesting development, Patel met Shankersinh Vaghela for over a couple of hours on Tuesday night. Vaghela is understood to have assured Patel that he will ensure all Congress MLAs vote for him in the Rajya Sabha polls. Speaking about the meeting Patel said, “I had a meeting with Vaghela and he has assured support of all Congress MLAs.”

Meanwhile, Vaghela says he will vote for Patel in the Rajya Sabha election, but on one condition, Ashok Gehlot must withdraw his remark that Vaghela quit the Congress to escape the CBI case filed against him.

“I am appealing to Gehlot. Please stay in your limits. There is no point in making personal attack. Let there be as many raids by CBI as it pleases. They found absolutely nothing... I’m asking Gehlot, go and open all CBI cases, but control your tongue. If you don’t withdraw your statement, I will resign as MLA even before the Rajya Sabha voting,” said Vaghela.

Confirming his Tuesday night meeting with A Patel, Bapu, as he is fondly addressed, said. “I've been a friend of Ahmedbhai for several years. He asked me to become Rajya Sabha MP. I declined saying I am already an MLA.”
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