Guj BJP chief can't recall events till Patel’s victory

Guj BJP chief can't recall events till Patel’s victory

Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani on Wednesday deposed in the Gujarat High Court as a witness for his colleague Balwantsinh Rajput, where he couldn’t “recall” the chain of events during the polling and counting of votes for Rajya Sabha seats in Gandhinagar in August, 2017.

Vaghani appeared in the court to testify in the trial of election petition moved by Rajput challenging the Rajya Sabha victory of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

During his cross-examination, lawyers appearing for Patel asked Vaghani questions related to controversies that started from voting in Gandhinagar and eventually reaching to Chief Election Commission’s office, New Delhi. 

Vaghani said that he had no knowledge of what happened in Delhi on that day.

He also didn’t recall whether a BJP delegation led by Union Minister Arun Jaitley visited the election commission there in the evening of August 8, 2008. He also denied that he watched these developments on TV news channels.

It is to be noted that a delegation of Congress leaders had moved Election Commission in Delhi challenging the decision of state Election Commission which rejected their application for declaring two votes of Congress turncoats— Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavji Patel, as invalid since they showed their votes to unauthorised persons during the voting.

This had led to a big drama in Delhi and the Election Commission decided in favour of the Congress, which helped Ahmed Patel win the election.

During the cross-examination, a heated argument broke out between Vaghani and senior lawyer B B Naik who appears for Ahmed Patel. Naik accused Vaghani of poaching Congress MLAs against which Vaghani responded that "prove it now or you withdraw your remarks."

In 2017, days after Rajya Sabha polls for three seats in Gujarat were announced, Balwansinh Rajput quit Congress and joined BJP. He was pitched as a BJP candidate along with party president Amit Shah and union textiles minister Smiriti Irani. Shah and Irani comfortably won the polls.

Ahmed Patel got 44 votes while Rajput lost who could garnered only 38 votes. Subsequently, Rajput filed the election petition challenging Ahmed Patel's victory. He has alleged the veteran Congress leader of "bribing and threatening MLAs" to win polls.

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