Gujarat Congress chief deposes in High Court in Ahmed Patel Rajya Sabha poll case

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AHMEDABAD: State Congress chief Amit Chavda deposed before the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday in connection with an election petition filed by BJP leader Balvantsinh Rajput challenging the election of Congress’s Ahmed Patel to Rajya Sabha in 2017.

Chavda told the court of Justice Bela Trivedi that he shared a good rapport with Rajput, who was with the Congress, but lost touch after he joined the BJP.

The Congress state chief said he was present when Patel filed his nomination papers, and that he also went to Bengaluru along with other Congress MLAs, but did not stay at a resort in Anand before the election.

He appeared as a witness for Patel, who is being cross-examined by the court.

Chavda said during his stay at a resort in Bengaluru, he went to a gym and also for shopping.

Rajput, a former Congress MLA, had quit the party to join the BJP ahead of the August 8 election.

After losing the poll as the BJP candidate, Rajput accused Patel of bribing MLAs and requested the high court to quash the Election Commission’s order invalidating the votes cast by two rebel MLAs of the Congress.

Rajput also prayed that votes of two other Congress MLAs be declared invalid.

The EC’s decision to invalidate the votes of Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavji Patel helped Patel get 44 votes, the minimum he needed to win. Rajput had polled 38 votes.

The issues framed by the high court in the case include whether Patel or his election agent committed an act of “bribery” and “undue influence” and, thereby, indulged in “corrupt practices” as alleged by Rajput, making the election “liable to be declared as void”.

Source: Press Trust of India