Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel has been directed by the Gujarat High Court to personally appear before it on June 20 to file a response to the plea challenging his elections to the Rajya Sabha from the state.
The petition has been filed by BJP leader Balvantsinh Rajput challenging Patel's election to the Rajya Sabha in August 2017. The Congress leader's counsel PS Champaneri stated in the court that a witness in the case is unable to attend the hearing due to ill health, thereby pleading the court to defer his case. However, Justice Bela Trivedi rejected the plea.
The counsel also said that Ahmed Patel had to be admitted to a private hospital in Faridabad, Haryana, on June 8 for treatment to a heart ailment, and hence he should be given time to appear before the court. Rejecting Ahmed Patel's plea, Justice Trivedi asked him to remain present in the court on June 20.
BJP leader Balvantsinh Rajput had filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court in 2017 for disqualifying Congress leader Ahmed Patel's appointment in the Upper House since the two votes of the Cong MLAs that were disqualified should have been counted as vote for Rajput, who is a former Congress MLA, and had quit the party to join the BJP ahead of the election.
Rajput has further accused that Patel bribed MLAs to vote for him and has sought quashing of the Election Commission order invalidating the votes cast by two rebel Congress MLAs. He has prayed that votes of two other Congress MLAs be declared invalid.
The EC's decision to invalidate the votes of the then rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavji Patel had helped Ahmed Patel get 44 votes, the minimum he needed to win. The BJP leader had polled 38 votes.
If the Gujarat High Court rules in Balvantsinh Rajput's favour, then Ahmed Patel's election to Rajya Sabha will be considered invalid and he will lose his seat in Parliament.
(With PTI inputs)