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Election Commission invalidates two ballots of rebel legislators

In a serious setback to the ruling BJP government in its home state, Gujarat,the Gujarat Chief Election officer  invalidated two votes cast by rebel Congress legislators, Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavjibhai Patel, the Congress MLAs who cross-voted for the BJP  and then showed their ballots to Amit Shah . They were invalidated as they were found to have violated secrecy rules.

In a day of utter chaos , the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat became a fight for prestige. This decision of EC gave advantage to the Congress candidate Ahmed Patel. At the same time the entire fiasco reduced the electoral process into a spectacle.

BJP’s heavy weight tactics

The BJP had enough votes to comfortably vote in Amit Shah as well as fellow candidate Smriti Irani. It had fielded Balwantsinh Rajput in the hopes of coming in the way of Ahmed Patel’s candidature. After voting  ended and the Congress’ allegations of secrecy violations surfaced, the BJP pulled out all stops and sent five Union ministers, including Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, to the Election Commission in the hope of convincing them not to nullify the votes.

But once the EC had seen the video, it concluded that the Congress had correctly identified a violation of election rules. “The commission has viewed the video recording of the votes cast by the said two MLAs, and it has been observed therefrom that the said two electors violated the voting procedure and secrecy of ballot papers cast by them,” the EC said in its order.

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