Update: 10-August-2017 | 06:00am IST

The just-concluded biennial election to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat on Tuesday turned out to be a theatre of the absurd in which every dirty trick in the game was used, exposing the unscrupulous moral meandering of politicians. In ordinary circumstances, Amit Shah and Smriti Irani from the BJP and Ahmed Patel from the Congress would have been elected without any hitch on the basis of their party strength in the state legislature. But the BJP leadership was hell bent to prevent the entry of Patel, a veteran parliamentarian from Gujarat and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary, to enter the Upper House this time. A fortnight ago, an engineered defection of six MLAs led by Shankersinh Vaghela, brought the number of Congress MLAs from 57 to 51. One of them, Balwantsinh Rajput, was supported by the BJP to take on Patel for the third Rajya Sabha seat.

Since seven known Vaghela supporters had remained in the Congress to jump the ship at an opportune time, the Congress caught up the BJP game. It shifted its 44 loyal MLAs to Karnataka, accusing the BJP of horse trading and intimidation by state machinery. Claiming to act independently, Income Tax officials then visited the Karnataka resort where the MLAs stayed.

The hide-and-seek game was not over even on the polling day on Tuesday when the 44 MLAs returned to vote. As it happened, one NCP and two Congress MLAs voted against Patel. But the foolhardy Congress MLAs committed the mistake of flashing their votes to BJP chief Amit Shah and were caught on camera. With the rules clearly stating that the MLAs can show their ballots only to their party's agent and no one else, the heavy hand the BJP played
to keep Ahmed Patel out of the Rajya Sabha eventually backfired when the Election Commission declared their votes invalid, allowing Patel to scrape through. The BJP exposed itself by resorting to worst possible machinations that forced the Congress to ferry its MLAs to Bengaluru so that there are no attempt to contact or influence them by the saffron outfit. The BJP put all its might in its effort win just one Rajya Sabha seat using questionable means. This election has discredited the BJP in a big way. These have left the BJP much to explain for its tactics, which were hardly democratic. By making Patel's election a prestige battle, the Modi-Shah duo has exposed the BJP's hunger for power at any cost and willingness to grab it by any means.

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