Ahmedabad: A BJP leader has accused Congress MP Ahmed Patel of bribing his party MLAs for their support to his Rajya Sabha election in 2017, said reports on Tuesday.

Balwantsinh Rajput has challenged Patel’s election and the Gujarat High Court is conducting a trial on his petition. In his 23-page affidavit, Rajput alleged that Patel spent Rs 18 lakh “on entertainment of these Congress MLAs during their stay in Bengaluru”. “Members of Congress party were not inclined to support him (Patel),” he claimed, referring to media reports.

“They (44 Congress MLAs) were also paid huge amounts by respondent no. 1 (Patel) or his agent or at his direction to concerned parties as gratification for casting their first preference vote for him which they accepted,” the BJP leader alleged.

Ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat, Congress MLAs were moved to Bengaluru after some of the Congress MLAs, including Rajput, quit the party to join the BJP. Rajput was nominated by the BJP against Ahmed Patel.

In the elections, apart from Patel (Congress), BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani were elected.

Rajput’s affidavit claimed that the money spent on Ahmedabad-Bengaluru flight tickets of 44 MLAs had been transferred to the account of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee.

He filed the affidavit after the high court held that the examination-in-chief of the witness had to be on an affidavit in accordance with the code of civil procedure. Patel’s lawyer PS Champaneri had sought permission that examination-in-chief of witnesses to be examined on behalf of the petitioner should be recorded in the court only and not by the way of affidavit. The high court refused to allow it.

Now Rajput is likely to appear in the court in person on January 31 when he will be cross-examined.

He has also said that his objection over two Congress MLAs — Shailesh Parmar and Mitesh Garasiya — showing their ballot papers in addition to authorised representatives was not considered by the Election Commission.

He said that two other Congress MLAs showed their ballot papers to authorised representative Shaktisinh Gohil who “tried to snatch away ballot papers from them as they voted for me”.