- Ahmed Patel re-elected to Rajya Sabha in super-tight contest
- Sharad Pawar's party claims that it provided the winning vote
- Ahmed Patel suggests he's not convinced by that claim
Mr Patel's attempt to pass himself off as small fry is at odds with his position as the top aide to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, which has made him a long-term power bank. It is his pole position in the "Old Guard" of the Congress that reportedly makes uncomfortable the group that operates around the younger Gandhi.
"Who voted for me is suspense," said Mr Patel, acknowledging the likelihood of betrayal by a stated ally, Sharad Pawar's party.
Mr Vaghela allegedly worked in tandem with Mr Shah to undercut the Congress. However, Mr Patel scraped through in the election after two Congress lawmakers who voted against him were disqualified for revealing their ballot papers to BJP representatives in violation of confidentiality rules. Mr Patel then had 43 votes in his favour and needed one more to win. But different parties say they are responsible for the 44th and most crucial vote. Sharad Pawar's party, the NCP, says one of its two lawmakers is responsible; it admits that the other ignored instructions to support the BJP. Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, has expelled the lone legislator from his party, who also claims to have voted for Mr Patel in defiance of his party's stated support for the BJP.
Mr Pawar has yet to confirm if his party will attend today's opposition meeting called in Delhi by Mrs Gandhi. Congress sources believe that he may be working on aligning with Mr Vaghela in Gujarat, which has for decades seen a two-party contest between the Congress and the BJP, which has governed it uninterrupted for nearly 20 years. Mr Vaghela, who is influential in north Gujarat, could work with Mr Pawar to split the anti-BJP vote, in effect helping Mr Shah achieve his goal of bettering the party's current hold on the state.