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Gujarat Rajya Sabha Election: How the Drama Unfolded in Delhi

The drama began when counting of votes for the three Gujarat Rajya Sabha seats, which was supposed to start at 5 pm on Tuesday, was held up after the Congress demanded that the Election Commission of India should quash the votes of Raghav Bhai Patel and Bhola Bhai Gohil who belonged to the Shankersinh Vaghela camp.

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Updated:August 9, 2017, 9:11 AM IST
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Gujarat Rajya Sabha Election: How the Drama Unfolded in Delhi
Law Minister Ravi Shanker Prasad, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitaraman after presenting the BJP's case to Election Commission.
New Delhi: On a day of high drama and expectations, the Congress took its fight to the Election Commission and got the verdict it wanted when EC agreed to disqualify the two rebel MLAs for showing their ballot paper to Amit Shah. Ahmed Patel eventually victorious with 44 votes in his favour.

The drama began when counting of votes for the three Gujarat Rajya Sabha seats, which was supposed to start at 5 pm on Tuesday, was held up after the Congress demanded that the Election Commission of India should quash the votes of Raghav Bhai Patel and Bhola Bhai Gohil who belonged to the Shankersinh Vaghela camp.

Congress first approached the Returning Officer for cancellation of the two votes. Then a Congress delegation, including leaders like RPN Singh and Randeep Surjewala, approached the EC office in New Delhi over the issue and asked that their votes should be voided.

They were followed by a BJP delegation, which included leaders like Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Ravi Shankar Prasad, visiting the Election Commission on Tuesday. Sitharaman demanded the EC complete the electoral process and counting should begin.

However, the EC officials did not meet Congress and BJP delegations.

Both the parties sent delegations to meet the Election Commission thrice in a space of three hours.

After a two-member Congress, low profile delegation met the Commission, a battery of senior ministers headed by Arun Jaitley met the poll panel and accused the Congress of trying to stall the process.

Briefing media after the meeting, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said if any party has any complaint then only an election petition in courts is the course left for the aggrieved.

Finally, a high-powered Congress delegation led by Ghulam Nabi Azad called on the Commission and asked it to follow the precedent set by it in Haryana and Rajasthan.

Briefing the media, former Minister P. Chidambaram said there was videographic evidence of the two Congress MLAs showing their ballots to people other than those authorised.

Finally, at 11.30 PM, EC decided to rule in favour of the Congress and disqualified the votes of the rebel MLAs.
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