By Amulya Ganguli
The BJP’s tactics of weaning away dissenters from other parties to boost its own position has suffered a jolt during the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat. The party must have congratulated itself when as many as 13 MLAs switched sides from the Congress to the BJP in the state, raising the possibility of a defeat for Ahmed Patel, the quintessential backroom operator who is known to be close to Sonia Gandhi.
Patel’s defeat would have been the icing on the cake for the BJP in the aftermath of its success in breaking the Bihar mahagathbandhan and welcoming chief minister Nitish Kumar into its parlour. But the fates decreed otherwise.
An inadvertent mistake of two rebel Congress MLAs of showing their ballot papers to someone in the BJP, probably Amit Shah, to prove that they had voted against Patel led to the cancellation of their votes and enabled Patel to make it to the victory stand.