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Why Patel's win matters: A defeat could have meant more trouble for the Congress

A loss would not only have dented Patel's reputation, but also have seen BJP's attack reach Sonia Gandhi's doorstep.

August 09, 2017 / 09:20 AM IST

Ahmed Patel, considered among the most powerful leaders in the Congress party and a member of the "old guard", fought tooth and nail to retain his Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat. It was, perhaps,the toughest battle he fought in his long political career.

The "chief trouble-shooter" of the Congress has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 1993 and had served in the Lok Sabha for 12 years before that.

Three seats in the Upper House of the Parliament were up for grabs from the state of Gujarat. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani sailed through from two of those seats courtesy their party's near two-thirds majority in the state assembly.

The Congress required the support of at least 44 MLAs to ensure Patel made it to the Rajya Sabha. Following a slew of defections from the party, Patel's chances were dented. And after a feverish build-up to the elections and hours-long drama on the day of voting and counting, Patel finally triumphed.