Cross-voting, arrests mar polling for 27 Rajya Sabha seats in 7 states

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 12, 2016 01:00 IST
CM Vasundhara raje with BJP's winners in Rajya sabha polls (from left ) Harshvardhan, Venkaiah Naidu, Om Mathur and Ramkumar Verma at party office in Jaipur on Saturday. (HT Photo)

Cross-voting, arrest of an Opposition MLA, allegations of obstruction from voting—all ingredients of drama added flavour to the Rajya Sabha polls on Saturday. Altogether, 27 RS seats from seven states went to elections on Saturday.

This round of biennial election, to fill up 58 berths in the Upper House of Parliament, had seen its share of controversy and suspense from the run up to the polls—in a clear departure from the past elections where results could be predicted in a routine manner. A large number of independent candidates set the stage for a close finish in states such as UP and Haryana.

Days before the polling, a sting operation exposed alleged attempts to bribe MLAs to vote in favour of particular candidates in Karnataka.

The Election Commission sought reports from the states, examined the tapes before finally allowing the polls as per schedule. And on Saturday, allegations of cross voting in defiance of party whips came from Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Eight MLAs from former PM HD Devegowda’s JD(S) party voted against the party nominee in the southern state.

Read | BJP wins 12 seats in Rajya Sabha polls, Congress takes 6; Opposition still rules the Upper House

They all supported the Congress, prompting the JD(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu to say, eight MLA’s have voted against JD(S) in Rajya Sabha election in favour of Congress. In Sunday’s party meeting, we are going to act against them according to provisions of the party constitution.”

Devegowda’s son and former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy labeled the defectors as “cancer” and said, “We should have found medicine for it. It is already late. We will have to find a solution to it before it goes to final stage.”

Rajya Sabha election has an open ballot system where voter has to show the ballot paper to the official agent of the party and cast the vote. In Uttarakhand, the BJP had challenged the Congress for the lone seat but one of its MLAs, Bhimlal Arya was disqualified under the anti-defection law on Thursday for going against the party whip during the floor test on May 10.

In another setback, BJP’s Bhimtal MLA Dan Singh Bhandari resigned from the assembly last night, losing his voting rights.

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