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Petition against Ahmed Patel's RS election: voting video played in HC


Press Trust of India Ahmedabad
A video recorded during the controversial voting for a 2017 Rajya Sabha seat election, in which Congress leader Ahmed Patel emerged victorious, was played at the Gujarat High Court Thursday.
The court is hearing a petition filed by BJP leader Balvantsinh Rajput, the losing candidate, challenging Patel's election.
The video, submitted by the returning officer, was played in the court of Justice Bela Trivedi. It showed four MLAs casting their ballots on August 8, 2017.
The votes of two of them -- rebel Congress MLAs Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohel -- were declared invalid by the Election Commission, while those of Congress MLAs Shailesh Patel and Mitesh Garasiya were counted, despite the BJP demanding that they should also be invalidated.
The decision led to Ahmed Patel's victory as he got 44 votes, the minimum he needed to win. Rajput polled 38.
Rajput has alleged that Patel won because of "bribery" and "undue influence". He has also challenged the EC's decision to invalidate the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs.
So far sixteen witnesses have deposed and have been cross-examined before the court.
A senior official of the Election Commission of India appeared Thursday as a seventeenth witness, but as he came without required documents, the court asked him to appear again Friday.
During the election, the Congress had lodged a complaint, saying that two rebel party MLAs showed their ballots to BJP representatives before putting them in the ballot box.
MLAs are not allowed to show their ballots to anybody other than the authorised polling agent of their own party. Both these MlAs had voted for Rajput.
As their votes were held invalid, Patel was declared winner.

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First Published: Mar 28 2019 | 11:05 PM IST

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