Senior BJP leader SS Ahluwalia’s Rajya Sabha tenure was interrupted on Thursday as he was defeated in the elections to the upper house of Parliament in Jharkhand.
It was the second consecutive defeat for the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls in Jharkhand.
In 2010, BJP nominee Ajay Maroo had lost. The Congress, helped by the RJD and independents, won one seat and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) also one.
In the elections to the two seats, held afresh after they were countermanded following charges of the use of money power, Ahluwalia, the BJP's outgoing deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, finished third with 20 votes — 18 of the saffron party's and two of the JD(U).
Pradip Kumar Balmuchu, Jharkhand Congress president, won with 25 votes while the JMM's Sanjeev Kumar secured 23. Balmuchu received 13 votes of his own party, five from the RJD and seven from independents including two who are supporting the BJP-JMM coalition government.
The JMM candidate got 18 of its own party's votes and five from the All Jharkhand Students' Union, a coalition partner of the government.
A total of 68 votes were polled in the 82-member house.
Eleven members of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantric), led by former chief minister Babulal Marandi, and the lone MLA of the CPI(ML-Liberation) abstained from voting.
The Election Commission had countermanded the Rajya Sabha elections in the state on March 30 after a seizure of Rs. 2.15 crore in cash from a car owned by the brother of independent candidate RK Agarwal.
The seats had fallen vacant following the end of the tenures of Ahluwalia and Mabel Rebello of the Congress on April 2.
The BJP is heading the ruling coalition in Jharkhand in partnership with the JMM although both parties have 18 MLAs each.
The JMM had earlier asked BJP to withdraw its candidate in favour Sanjeev Kumar but the latter rejected the call.
With input from HT Ranchi bureau