image courtesy:The Week

Ahmed Patel pulled off what many believe was an improbable victory, against all the odds and  the might of the Modi-Shah combine, To have managed to keep the majority of MLAs intact and also to get the possible votes of the lone JD(U) MLA, one NCP and one GPP MLA, Patel demonstrated that attempts to write his obituary were premature.

The long-serving political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been one of the most powerful functionaries in the party. An organisational man, he had gently turned down offers to join the government at the centre by four prime ministers when the Congress was in power, according to party insiders.

Ahmed Patel  is a Member of Parliament in India and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress party. He is the political secretary to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi since 2001 and is widely credited with the party’s performance in the 2004 and 2009 General elections.

Patel, the biggest and most influential backroom operator, represents the last vestiges of Congress power. As a remnant of the old guard, his long association with the Gandhi clan and proximity to Congress president Sonia Gandhi as her political secretary made him, in Shah’s eyes, an invaluable target whose political demise may hasten Congress’s annihilation.

“Shah has a personal grudge against me,” Patel said. The BJP president was convinced that Patel had a key role to play in his being jailed in 2010 in the Sohrabuddin encounter case and wanted “to settle scores by ensuring that the man who he believes set the CBI on him” was denied a Rajya Sabha seat.

The stakes had been raised so high that Patel’s seat in Rajya Sabha had now become a prestige and personal battle between the political management skills of Shah and Patel. A blow to Patel would have been a mortal blow to the Congress party’s prospects in the upcoming Assembly elections, as it has been reeling under the impact of defections and loss of power in state after state.

Obviously, on a night when democracy was under threat, there was just one clear winner,India’s Election Commission.

Majority of the credit for the survival of democracy goes to the Election Commission ,Today, many of India’s institutions ,the CBI and I-T Department, for instance ,are accused of a pro-establishment bias. Their conduct has come under the scanner because of several instances that betray the lack of independence, a commitment to the agenda of the government in power.

The Gujarat Rajya Sabha election turned out to be a tricky affair as the Election Commission of India (ECI) invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to revoke the decision of its Returning Officer (RO) in the state and declare invalid the votes cast by two Congress MLAs.

The EC’s decision to disqualify two Congress legislators for showing their ballot papers to unauthorised persons in spite of pressure from the BJP is a welcome sign that some of India’s democratic institutions retain the ability to follow the law, protect the spirit of the Constitution and do what is right, even when faced with the government’s might.

Senior state leader Shaktisinh Gohil, who was acting as the Congress’ agent in the polling station, first sought the invalidation of two votes cast by Congress rebel MLAs around 3 pm. The party leadership informed him that the returning officer has promised to look into the matter.

“I saw both Raghvji Patel and Bhola Gohil flashing their ballot papers to the BJP’s polling agent. This happened in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah, who was one of the three candidates fielded by the party,” the 57-year-old MLA said.

Being a lawyer, Gohil had fought many legal battles for the party in Gujarat. It was the experience gained through his days spent in court that helped the Congress emerge victorious in a battle that Patel was a hair’s breadth away from losing.

If the ballots cast by the two rebel MLAs were not disqualified, Patel would have required 45 votes ,one more than what he eventually got ,to win.

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who was part of a Congress delegation that met the Election Commission on Tuesday seeking rejection of votes of two Congress rebels said: “Money, muscle and manipulation could not win in the Guarat Rajya Sabha elections.”

The Income Tax Department conducted searches at multiple properties related to Karnataka energy minister DK Shivakumar, who was overseeing the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort, in connection with a tax evasion case.

The Congress legislators stayed at the resort since Saturday last after the party flew them in here to fend off alleged “poaching” attempts by the BJP ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.

The poll outcome has also ended at once all the speculations that the damage caused to the Congress by the exit of senior party leader Shankarsinh Vaghela is decisive for its electoral fate in Gujarat.

Out of the Bharatiya Janata Party candidates, party chief Amit Shah made his debut to the Parliament while Smriti Irani was re-elected too. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated Union minister Smriti Irani and BJP chief Amit Shah on being elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

Rajya Sabha members are elected by Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of that state. 12 of them, however, are nominated by the President

The value of each MLA’s vote is 100. The total number of votes required for a candidate to get elected to the Rajya Sabha is [(Number of MLAs X 100) / (Vacancies + 1)] + 1

Take UP, for instance. The state has 403 MLAs and a total of 10 seats will fall vacant in 2018. So the number of votes needed is [(403 X 100) / (10+1)] + 1 = 3,664 votes. Since the value of each MLA is 100, a candidate from UP in 2018 will require the support of at least 37 MLAs.

In Goa, the assembly has 40 members and its one Rajya Sabha seat will be vacant this year. So the formula for Goa would be [(40 X 100) / (1+1)] + 1 = 2,001 votes. Here, a candidate will need the support of at least 21 MLAs.