PM Modi lauds Amit Shah for his service as BJP chief

BJP chief Amit Shah Union minister Smriti Irani defector Balwantsinh Rajput and Congress leader Ahmed Patel are in the fray the last two will face off against each other. Voting is scheduled to begin at 9

Gujarat Rajya Sabha Polls: Ahmed Patel's Fate Hangs in Balance as Counting of Votes Halted

To be fair to the Congress, its candidate Ahmed Patel deserved to win from Gujarat since it had the required number of legislators in Gujarat before the BJP turned the election into a tamasha of democracy. If Patel had not snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, Shah would have been feted as a giant killer having scalped one of the top guns of the Congress since it would have been seen as Modi's successful "surgical strike" at the very top of the Opposition pyramid.

In the 182-member Gujarat assembly, 176 members cast their votes for the Rajya Sabha elections after 6 Congress MLAs resigned and joined BJP.

Expressing happiness over Patel's victory, Congress president Sonia Gandhi thanked the Election Commission for its decision to disqualify votes of two rebel Congress MLAs who showed their ballot papers to BJP president Amit Shah. Ahmed Patel ji for a big fight.

"It was a conspiracy by the Congress (leaders) to win the election". "Two persons are misusing central investigation agencies, Even the BJP is afraid of these two people".

Mr. Chidambaram later told the media that the ultimate decision had to be taken by the Election Commission, as it was the only constitutional authority. BJP general secretary in-charge of the state Bhupender Yadav, who had also been stationed in Gujarat, said on Monday: "We are moving towards a Congress-free Gujarat. Our next target is to win the 2017 elections", Patel said. In a house of 245 members, the BJP now has 58 - one more than the 57 of the Congress at No.2 position. Congress winning of a Rajya Sabha seat from Gujrat symbolises no less a miracle. The election of Sonia Gandhi's political aide Ahmed Patel in a cliffhanger of a contest in Gujarat helped the party and Patel retain the seat and gives no addition to its numbers. This reduced the minimum votes needed for victory from 45 earlier to 44.

Congress tried to preserve the remaining votes by shifting its remaining MLAs to Bangalore till the elections.

Patel has to thank JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav for ensuring him the support of the party's lone MLA, despite Nitish Kumar's recent return to the NDA fold.

A series of questionable IT raids followed at the Bengaluru resort where the 44 Congress MLAs were staying and at the residential and office premises of their host and Karnataka cabinet minister DK Shivakumar. The party has Kandhal Jadeja and Jayant Patel as its MLAs in the Assembly.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "Treachery, immorality and misuse of state power has been defeated in Gujarat at the altar of truth and principles".

But the party's turnaround will take a lot more than a Rajya Sabha victory, no matter how high profile the candidate and how bitterly it was fought - and won.

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