Cross-voting ruled the early hours of polling as rebel Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela and his six supporters voted in favour of BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput, who recently defected from Congress to join the saffron party.
"Our party has asked us to support BJP in tomorrow's RS elections", Jadeja said.
Apart from Rajput, five other Congress MLAs had also quit with two joining the BJP with him, bringing down the Congress's strength in the 282-member House to 51 from 57.
Ahmed Patel said that one Congress leader cross-voting will not affect the outcome of the result and he will secure a victory.
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Patel and Gohil showed their ballots to the Congress agent Shaktisinh Gehlot and to the BJP agent, thus their votes have become invalid, the Congress claimed. While the ruling BJP has fielded three candidates including its national party president Amit Shah and union minister Smriti Irani, the opposition Congress is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the victory of senior party leader Ahmed Patel who is also the political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi.
"It is not by any means beyond any doubt that all the 44 MLAs of the Congress will vote in favor of a similar individual, they may likewise do cross voting".
Patel was talking to reporters after he met the 44 Congress MLAs at Nijanand Resort located on the outskirts of Anand, where they have been put up after their return from Bengaluru. On the other hand, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram stated there is enough evidence that the ballot paper were seen by people other than those authorized. Patel, due to his proximity to the Congress president, had been instrumental in deciding the course which the party took during the better part of Sonia Gandhi's tenure.
"I do not understand why the BJP made a decision to field its third candidate (against him) when they are still short of 16 votes". The party has set a target of winning 150 seats in the 182-member assembly. Patel needs 45 votes to win the seat. NCP has two and JD (U) has one MLA in the house.
Subsequently, the rattled Congress tucked away 44 of its MLAs to a Bengaluru resort to insulate them from alleged "poaching" attempts by the BJP. The MLAs are expected to be shifted into Neejanand Resort in Gujarat till the Rajya Sabha elections conclude. This would mean a contestant has to muster 45 votes. Meanwhile, the Congress too covered some ground and the difference in its vote share vis-a vis the BJP was just around eight percent.