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Rajya Sabha election: BJP candidate moves Gujarat HC, challenges Ahmed Patel’s victory

Balwantsinh Rajput, the BJP candidate who narrowly lost the Rajya Sabha election, has moved the Gujarat High Court, challenging the victory of Congress’s Ahmed Patel and seeking his disqualification. He has also challenged the Election Commission’s decision to invalidate the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs. The High Court on Friday slated the hearing on Rajput’s petition on Monday.
Rajput, who was Congress chief whip before resigning from the Assembly and joining BJP, had lost to Ahmed Patel after the EC declared the votes of Raghavji Patel and Bhola Gohel as invalid, giving advantage to Congress.
Following the voting for three Rajya Sabha seats on August 8, Congress had moved the election panel in New Delhi, claiming the two MLAs showed their ballots not only to Congress’s polling agent, but also to the polling agent of BJP in violation of the procedure. The party took the matter to New Delhi after the returning officer rejected its objection.
After the Election Commission ordered in favour of Congress, results were declared with Ahmed Patel securing 44 votes and Rajput getting only 38 votes.
Rajput has challenged the Election Commission’s order on the ground that once the returning officer had rejected the objection raised by the Congress leaders, the poll panel had no power to issue any direction to the returning officer for accepting or rejecting any vote.
The petition was filed through senior advocates Satya Pal Jain and Devang Vyas.
Jain in a statement highlighted the contents of petition as saying, “He (Rajput) also alleged that Ahmed Patel indulged in corrupt practices of bribery and undue influence over the voters. He submitted that Patel took 44 Congress MLAs to distance (sic) place i.e. Bangalore, kept them in custody and captivity and spent huge amount on their ‘entertainment’ in that resort.”
He stated Ahmed Patel’s victory was because of these corrupt practices, and not because of free will of the voters. The statement mentioned that Jain and Vyas “made a mention of the election petition before the senior most judge of the Gujarat High Court Justice M R Shah because the Chief Justice was on leave today.”
Jain and Vyas requested the court to fix this case for listing at an early date, keeping in view the legal issues involved in the election petition. On this, Justice Shah ordered the election petition to be listed for hearing on Monday…before the designated judge.”

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