Ahmed Patel files papers for RS poll, Vaghela assures conditional support

New Delhi : The Congress heaved a sigh of relief on Wednesday when rebel leader Shankersinh Vaghela pledged support to Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel who filed his nomination for the August 8 Rajya Sabha election here.

Though, his single vote may not matter much in the Rajya Sabha election, but others quitting with him may create a problem in Patel’s re-election. Elections are taking for three seats and the ruling BJP is sure to retain two seats on the basis of its strength in the Assembly, third seat going to the Congress.

Asserting that nothing illegal was found in the raids, Vaghela said he himself had gone to the CBI’s Mumbai office to challenge it to arrest him if it had found anything wrong.

RAJYA SABHA OFFER: In yet another disclosure, Vaghela also claimed Ahmed Patel visited his residence Tuesday night and offered to field him in the Rajya Sabha election. He declined since he wants Patel to be re-elected.

Patel’s visit to him is seen as the Congress still trying to placate him not to desert the party. In fact, nobody in the AICC headquarters have said a word against him and as such the party leadership has asked Gehlot to tread carefully in dealing with him, a top Congress source said.

VAGHELA FLAYS GEHLOT

New Delhi : Gujarat Opposition leader Shankarsinh Vaghela (77) is angry at his character assassination by in-charge AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot since he announced his decision to quit the Congress and the Assembly after the Rajya Sabha election in the state on August 8.

In an email statement on Wednesday, he threatened to resign as an MLA without voting in the August 8 Rajya Sabha election, unless Gehlot withdraws his comment attributing his sudden resignation from the Congress to the recent CBI and Enforcement Directorate.

He said he had not quit immediately since he wanted to vote as an MLA for the victory of Ahmed Patel, the political secretary of Sonia Gandhi, with whom he has a friendship since 1977.

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