In a relief to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh ahead of the June 11 Rajya Sabha polls, the High Court On Thursday cleared the way for two of its MLAs to vote for the party nominee in separate decisions, improving its prospects to gain one of the three seats.
In one case, the Jabalpur bench of the High Court directed the Election Commission to facilitate postal ballot to a Congress legislator, who is undergoing treatment at a Mumbai hospital.
In the other, its Indore bench granted bail to another party MLA, who was under judicial custody in an alleged rape case.
These decisions would enable the two MLAs to vote in the election where the Congress has fielded Vivek Tankha as its nominee. Congress has 57 MLAs in the house - one short of what is required for it to sail through to the Upper House.
The High Court’s principal bench in Jabalpur directed the EC to make available postal ballot to Leader of opposition Satyadev Katare, admitted in a hospital.
Justice S K Gangele issued the direction while hearing a petition of MP Congress Committee challenging the EC’s June 2 decision that quashed their plea seeking the use of ballot paper in the RS poll.
Earlier in the day, Congress MLA from Barwani Ramesh Patel was granted bail in a rape case by the court.
Patel, arrested in connection with an alleged rape case four months ago, was granted bail by Justice J K Jain, his lawyer P K Mukati said.
Earlier, the Congress had plans to airlift Katare and also another legislator Govardhan Upadhyay, who is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Indore. Instead, Upadhyay will be brought here for voting in an ambulance, Congress state Chief Spokesman K K Mishra told PTI.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Kamal Nath is expected to arrive here shortly and camp till the voting is over, seeking to ensure Tankha’s victory.
BJP has fielded eminent journalist M J Akbar and party strategist Anil Madhav Dave as its candidates and both are set to win on the basis of the party’s strength in the state Assembly.
The party’s third nominee Vinod Gotia, who has entered the fray as an Independent, may now feel the heat after the two High Court orders.
The saffron party needs nine extra votes to ensure win of Gotia. Presently, it has 49 surplus votes excluding Rajendra Meshram, who has been restrained from voting by a Supreme Court order in connection with an election petition, an official of the Assembly told PTI.
Bahujan Samaj Party has already issued a whip to its four MLAs to vote in favour of Tankha.
In the 230-member Assembly, the ruling BJP has 166 members followed by Congress (57), BSP (4) and Independents (3).