Senior Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot believes that the party has got a big boost following Ahmed Patel's victory in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election.
Senior Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot believes that the party has got a big boost following Ahmed Patel’s victory in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election. The party’s Gujarat affairs in-charge, in an exclusive interview with Indian Express, said that the Congress is ready for alliance in the state which is all set to go for Assembly polls later this year. When asked about the lessons the party learnt from the recent Gujarat episode, Gehlot said, “What has happened in Gujarat is in continuation of what had happened in Manipur, Goa, Bihar or even Uttar Pradesh, where leaders of Samajwadi Party and the BSP are being taken away by BJP.” The thought process of the Prime Minister and BJP president Amit Shah is undemocratic and dangerous, he added.
Gehlot also spoke about the exit of as many as 14 Congress MLAs just prior to the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election. He said, “In our party, it has always been a tradition of fill in the blank. New people will fill that vacuum. Had these people been there, freshers would not have got a chance because the general rule in the Congress has been sitting-getting (sitting MLAs being renominated).” The elections went under a controversy soon after Congress demanded rejection of votes of two of its MLAs who publicly revealed their ballot paper. The objection caused delay in counting as the matter was taken up by the Election Commission.
When asked about why the Congress insisted on rejection of their votes, Gehlot said, “The constitutional scheme should be protected. When you blatantly violate laws and rules of the Election Commission, we have to question. Seventeen years ago, an Independent MLA’s vote in Rajya Sabha election was disqualified because he had declared that he had voted for the Congress.” He also reacted to BJP’s decision to challenge the EC mandate in court and said that who is stopping them. Everybody has the right to move the court, he said adding that the party is not worried.
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When asked about any chances of a rapprochement with Shankersinh Vaghela before the Gujarat Assembly elections, Gehlot said that after what he has done, chapter is closed now. The Congress leader also claimed that the party would win the Gujarat Assembly elections as there is public mood in their favour.