Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday expressed her satisfaction over her top aide Ahmed Patel’s victory in the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. “Thank God for the Election Commission,” she said while speaking to NDTV.

The results to the Upper House elections came at the end of a night of drama on Tuesday that culminated in the Election Commission invalidating two ballots by Congress MLAs who had cross-voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party, giving Patel just enough votes to win.

Gandhi admitted that there was a lot of tension ahead of the elections. “I am so happy and relieved with his victory,” she added.

Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah and Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani won the two other Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat.

Change in stance

Earlier this year, the Congress was among several political parties that had questioned the EC’s independence and alleged that its Electronic Voting Machines had been tampered with during the Assembly elections in five states in February-March. The political parties had said that the allegations of EVM manipulation had created a “deep-seated trust deficit” on their reliability.

Gandhi in Lok Sabha

Addressing the Lok Sabha on the occasion of Quit India anniversary, the Congress president said “forces of darkness” were trying to destroy the roots of democracy in the country, in an apparent reference to the BJP-led government at the Centre.

“Today it looks like secularism and free speech are in danger. If we have to preserve freedom, we will have to defeat forces endangering it. We can’t and we won’t allow sectarian forces to succeed,” she said.