Two BJP-ruled states of Haryana and Jharkhand witnessed high drama in the otherwise quiet Rajya Sabha polls.
In Haryana, Congress legislators rebelled against Opposition candidate RK Anand who lost to BJP-backed media baron Subhash Chandra. Votes of 14 Congress legislators said to be loyalists of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda were declared invalid for not using the Election Commission-assigned pen.
“Congress, which used to say BJP is a communal party, has compromised with the same and become B team of the saffron party,” said a visibly upset INLD leader Abhay Chautala. A lawyer by profession, Anand was first named by the Indian National Lok Dal and supported by the Congress a day before the Saturday polls. Both parties blamed each other for his loss.
The Haryana assembly has 90 members. The BJP has 47 MLAs, the INLD 19, the Congress 17, Bahujan Samaj Party and Shiromani Akali Dal one each with five independent legislators. “All the Congress MLAs voted for Anand. Our general secretary, BK Hariprasad was the polling agent and he saw every ballot. An inquiry should be conducted to find out who hatched this conspiracy,” Hooda said.
Arrests turn the tide
In Jharkhand, the BJP bagged both the Rajya Sabha seats following midnight arrest of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha legislator Chamra Linda and Congress legislator Devendra Singh, which reduced the opposition strength to 28. As a result, BJP nominee Mahesh Poddar defeated JMM’s Basant Soren by a whisker.
In the assembly of 81 members, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi got two votes more than the required number as the BJP managed to rope in the three independent legislators and lone BSP MLA. The BJP-led alliance has 47 members and opposition 30. The JMM and Congress said they will move court against the government decision to issue arrest warrant against its legislators at the last hour.