Desperate to win the third seat in Rajya Sabha election BJP suffered a major setback 3 days ahead of voting for Rajya Sabha election when Election Commission of India (ECI) ruled that BJP MLA from Deosar (SC) seat in Singrauli Rajendra Meshram cannot vote in the election.
ECI also ruled that the Congress MLAs including leader Opposition in assembly Satyadev Katare and Ramesh Patel would have to be physically present to cast their votes. The voting is to be done on June 11.
Katare is undergoing a treatment at a hospital in Mumbai while Patel is lodged in a jail in connection with an accusation against him that he was involved in a rape.
When contacted the returning officer and principal secretary Bhagwandev Israni confirmed that he received the ruling from the ECI on Tuesday and the voters list was amended due to the ECI ruling on Meshram.
Earlier, the state Congress chief spokespersons KK Mishra attacked the returning officer asking when the Supreme Court had already ruled that Meshram couldn’t cast his vote in assembly proceedings why his name was included in the voters list at the serial number 81.
The Rajya Sabha election being held for 3 seats in Madhya Pradesh became much interesting after entry of the state BJP general secretary Vinod Gontia as an independent candidate in the election. While BJP is sure to win two of the three seats given its strength in the assembly the Congress nominee Vivek Tankha and Gontia have locked horns for the third seat. BJP has already and understandably extended its support to Gontia. The BJP candidates in the elections are Anil Madhav Dave and MJ Akbar.
With the ECI ruling on Meshram the number of MLAs or voters in the election has been reduced to 229 and the BJP’s strength to 165. BJP may draw consolation from the fact that if it lost one vote in Meshram it gained one in Mangal Singh Dhruve who won recent Ghoradongari assembly seat by-poll.
Tankha and Gontia would have to secure 58 votes to win the third seat. Gontia has 49 votes from the BJP and he expects to get support from the 3 independent candidates. He may also get support from a Congress MLA Dinesh Ahirwar. Thus, he has got 53 votes.
The Congress strength in the state assembly is 57. The BSP has extended its support to him which has 4 MLAs. Hence, the Congress leaders feel confident. The Congress leaders are making efforts to bring Katare through an air ambulance from Mumbai while they would try getting Patel released from jail on parole. However, even if Katare and Patel are not able to vote and Dinesh Ahirwar defects the Congress has winning numbers provided the BJP is not able to woo the some more Congress MLAs and also the BSP.