Five take aways from Gujarat RS election

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said that the election of Ahmed Patel would be challenged before the court. Meanwhile, there are five take aways from the election

 PTI Photo
PTI Photo

NH Web Desk

The nail-biting victory of Ahmed Patel, the solitary Muslim MP from Gujarat, has overnight put the spotlight on him nationally. The five-time MP may have kept a low profile and may have been little known beyond Congress circles before; but now he has overnight become known across the country, thanks to BJP’s efforts to deny him another term in the Rajya Sabha.

Who is to be blamed for the unseemly and unhealthy sequence of events that marked the election to the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday from Gujarat? Is it the Congress, which could not keep its flock together or is it the BJP, which made it a prestige issue to steal a Rajya Sabha seat from the Congress?

While the jury is still out, these are the five take-aways from the dramatic election:

Dissension within the BJP:

While Amit Shah was busy flexing his muscles, did he forget to cover his back? Ahmed Patel would not have won without the vote cast by BJP MLA Nalin Kotadiya in his favour. While Kotadiya justified his conduct by citing the killing of 14 Patidars by Gujarat Police and put up a facebook post and a video to explain his voting decision, it served to highlight the chinks in Gujarat BJP.

Setback for Nitish Kumar’s JD(U):

The lone JD(U) MLA in Gujarat was asked by the JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar and JD(U) national spokesman KC Tyagi to vote for the third BJP candidate and against Ahmed Patel. But he apparently defied the party and voted for Patel, signalling the possible end of the party in Gujarat. While Nitish Kumar had sought to rally Patidars (Patels) on caste lines, his attempt to deny Ahmed Patel a Rajya Sabha seat does not seem to have gone down well with Patidars in Gujarat. JD(U) MLA Chhotubhai Vasava told the media, “For 22 years the BJP has looted the state. How can I side with them ?”

Blow to the credibility of Union ministers:

The sight of five cabinet ministers repeatedly hotfooting it to the Election Commission and argueing against declaring two Congress votes as invalid, dented their own credibility. Both Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad would have been aware of the precedent in Haryana when media mogul and Zee Group promoter Subhash Chandra scraped through to the Rajya Sabha by getting Randeep Surjewala’s vote declared invalid. Their contrary argument made to the EC and to the waiting media outside on Tuesday raised questions about their politics and credibility.

A turning point for Gujarat Congress:

While it is still too early to say this, the victory of Ahmed Patel against all odds could well be a turning point for the beleaguered party in the state, especially if Ahmed Patel now is tasked to lead the campaign along with Shaktisinh Gohil in the assembly election due later this year.

Election Commission refuses to follow Gujarat Model :

While the Returning Officer in Gandhinagar rejected the Congress plea to invalidate the two votes, the Election Commission in New Delhi upheld the plea. It had possibly no choice, having set a precedent in Haryana last year. But by seeming to go against the BJP and the Union Government and by turning down the plea of a delegation of cabinet ministers, the EC appears to have retained its credibility as a watchdog.

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Published: 09 Aug 2017, 1:23 PM