Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ahmed Patel's victory is a big morale booster for Congress Party

The dramatic late night victory of Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat is going to be the first of its kind in the history of electoral politics in India after Independence. Ahmed Patel is the political Secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. So, his election had been an issue of prestige for the Congress party. Ahmed Patel’s victory shows BJP President Amit Shah that what he is learning has been forgotten by the Congress party. The election to three RS seats was to be held in Gujarat. The two seats were of BJP and one of Congress as per their legislative strength respectively. As BJP had fielded its party President Amit Shah and Union Minister Smirti Irani for two seats, their victory was a foregone conclusion. Congress fielded Ahmed Patel for its one RS seat. The BJP has been going from strength to strength and winning one state election after another for the last three years. So, its morale is very high. On the other hand, the health of the Congress party has been deteriorating day by day and losing one state election after another. In the meantime, three RS seats fell vacant from Gujarat. The desertion of MLAs had set in the Gujarat state unit with the resignation of legislative party leader Shanker Singh Vaghela followed by six other MLAs causing a great setback for it. BJP with power and money allegedly tried to cause defection in the Congress party so that its strength could be reduced from 57 to 35 in the state assembly to make it impossible for Ahmed Patel to sail through. BJP President Amit Shah was reportedly very active to ensure the defeat of Congress candidate Ahmed Patel. It is alleged that Congress MLAS were intimidated, lured, threatened and tempted to change sides. Fearing a certain poaching on its 44 MLAs, Congress Party took all of them to Bengaluru and put them in Engleton Resort there in Karnataka. Karnataka is a Congress-ruled state. As Karnataka Energy Minister D K Shivakumar was asked to take care of the party MLAs of Gujarat in Engleton Resort, the Central govt. allegedly sent IT men to raid his more than 40 locations in Bengaluru, New Delhi and other places in connection with an old case of misappropriating money. The timing of the raid clearly reflected that it was done only because Shivakumar was taking charge of Gujarat Congress MLAs in Engleton Resort. BJP used money, power and politics to defeat Ahmed Patel, but it ultimately failed. It shows that BJP has to learn still more from Congress party how power could be misused to destroy opposition in democracy. In the victory of Ahmed Patel, Congress showed BJP that it might have learnt everything in politics, but still lacking in application of undemocratic means. The victory of Ahmed Patel is a great morale booster for the Congress party and a setback to BJP in Gujarat in particular and the entire nation in general. Gujarat assembly goes to poll in the next few months. The united posture shown by Congress in Delhi and Gujarat will certainly boost the party’s fortune in the assembly elections. Apart from Cong's own 43 MLAs, one from JD(U) and one from NCP also voted from Ahmed Patel. Though only 43 MLAS voted for the party and one defected and did not vote for it, the exit of Shankar Singh Vaghela is also not going to be a very serious cause of concern for Congress Party. Now, Congress has tasted victory. It will go all hog against the BJP in the coming Gujarat Elections. Anti-incumbency factor in the state of Gujarat has to be faced by BJP. If the result of Gujarat Gram Panchayat elections are anything to go by, Congress is going to give stiff fight to the ruling BJP in the state in the assembly poll.

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