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Home > Election Analysis > The 'Super Over' of 20-20 match

The 'Super Over' of 20-20 match

Ahmed Patel, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary, won a bitterly-fought battle for a prestigious Rajya Sabha seat, defeating BJP in a high-stakes contest ahead of Gujarat polls scheduled later this year. The battle which started in the morning on 8th August 2017 saw the fortune change sides throughout the day and with the situations not clear the umpire 'EC' had to call for 'Super Over' which saw the final results. Though two of the three Rajya Sabha seats of Gujarat went to the BJP and only one to Congress but it was that 'one' seat BJP never wanted to loose. Though Congress won that seat in the last moment it is the Congress party itself which had created a situation like this in the last six months in Gujarat where many of its dissatisfied legislators have changed loyalty and the remaining flock had to be herded together to keep them intact.

The morale-boosting victory came after days of intense tussle between the two sides for each vote and on a day of dramatic developments which saw Election Commission rejecting the votes of two Congress MLAs who voted for BJP.Celebrations broke out in Ahmedabad once party managers declared that Patel had got 44 votes — just enough for him to save the battle from going into the second preference round where BJP would have had a clear advantage because of the sheer numbers it has in the electoral college.Later at night, the returning officer announced the final numbers in the polls according to which Ahmed Patel secured 4400 votes, BJP's Amit Shah got 4600, Smriti Irani, too, got 4600, and Balwantsinh Rajput got 3800 votes.

The relief for Congress marks a setback for BJP, particularly party chief Amit Shah who scripted the audacious run on Congress's vote bank, as well as for Congress rebel Shankersinh Vaghela who teamed up with the saffron party to put the contest on knife's edge. It was Vaghela's man Balwantsinh Rajput who was Patel's challenger. Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani scored easy victories.

Coming after a string of setbacks — the collapse of Bihar's 'secular' coalition being the most recent one — and the lengthening doubts about the party's resilience, the victory will taste sweet for Congress.

A defeat for 'AP', as the Congress leader is known, would have been a morale shattering blow for the party ahead of assembly elections in Gujarat where BJP is widely seen as the frontrunner.As political secretary to the Congress chief, he came to be known as the go-to man. Patel was seen as the brain behind important appointments in the government and party alike, earning a legion of well-wishers and an army of detractors. And he was the manager who delivered numbers in Parliament in crunch situations.It was the reputation earned during this long phase from 2004-2014 that lay at the root of why Shah made it a prestige issue to bring down the quintessential Congressman

Else, the story has been much different for the last three years since Congress was reduced to the state of a marginalised opposition.

Patel is widely seen to have been pushed to the sidelines, not enjoying the same proximity with heir-apparent Rahul Gandhiwho has virtually taken over decision-making. Now it will be interesting to be seen that that a person who has been adept at clinching deals with allies and even opposition parties in standoffs over policy and parliamentary proceedings maintains his relationship with Rahul Gandhi.

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