National

Vaghela smells conspiracy in Ahmed Patel’s RS win

Virendra Pandit Gandhinagar | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 10, 2017

SHANKERSINH VAGHELA Expelled Congress leader

Crest-fallen after his carefully-crafted plans went awry and led to his ‘expulsion’ for six year from the Congress he had quit on July 21 itself, ‘unattached’ leader Shankersinh Vaghela, on Thursday, smelt a ‘conspiracy’ that ensured Ahmed Patel won the crucial Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat.

At his first press conference here after the debacle, Vaghela appearing rattled with the sudden turn of events, claimed that Patel’s victory had been pre-planned.

“They were ready with the paper work to challenge the voting and result a night before polling. The lawyers were ready in New Delhi, and they rushed to the Election Commission in time to secure invalidation of two votes. This was a conspiracy to win the election,” he said.

He said when Congress MLA Raghavji Patel came to cast his vote, the Congress agent tried to snatch the ballot paper in an attempt to incite him. Another MLA, Bholabhai Gohil, did not even display his ballot paper to anybody. But the Election Commission invalidated both the votes.

In fact, Vaghela said, some top Congress leaders wanted to ensure Ahmed Patel’s defeat. “At the behest of those leaders, Ashok Gehlot (AICC general secretary in charge of Gujarat) remarked that I was under the pressure of BJP, CBI and ED. Even when I challenged him to withdraw these remarks — saying I will not vote otherwise — Gehlot did not retract,” said Vaghela. The Congress high command was simply not concerned with the dissatisfied party MLAs’ complaints, he added.

Vaghela reiterated that as many as 36 Congress MLAs, out of 57, had expressed dissatisfaction when they met at his residence a few months ago. “There was widespread disaffection among the MLAs as the party leadership did not care to listen to their views. I had been repeatedly warning the leadership about this and how this could impact the Rajya Sabha elections. I even told Rahul Gandhi that the Congress had turned into a system-failure party,” he said.

He also questioned the “double standards” of the Congress leadership. “When it suits you, the vote of conscience is acceptable. Indira Gandhi’s call for vote of conscience, which led to the victory of VV Giri as President against the Congress’ own nominee, was acceptable. You did not act against the 11 Congress MLAs who recently cross-voted against Meira Kumar in the Presidential poll. Then why act against those Congress MLAs who, similarly, cast their vote of conscience against Ahmed Patel? I also wanted to raise the voice of conscience.”

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Published on August 10, 2017
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