BJP-backed independent candidate and media baron Subhash Chandra was on Saturday elected to the Rajya Sabha from Haryana, after 14 Congress votes were declared invalid.
Chandra defeated Delhi-based lawyer and INLD, Congress-backed independent candidate R K Anand. Union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh won the other seat and was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha from Haryana.
Altogether 14 Congress votes were rejected. Twelve votes were rejected because the Congress MLAs used a wrong type of ink said Vidhan Sabha secretary R K Nandal. One vote was not counted as the ballot was unmarked. Congress MLA Randeep Singh Surjewala’s vote was rejected as he showed his vote to another MLA Kiran Chaudhary.
“Out of 14 rejected votes, 12 were due to unauthorised markings, one was blank and another was rejected during polls,” Nandal said.
Nandal said that all MLAs were given clear instructions that votes need to be marked only using the violet pen provided by the returning officer.
How the 14 rejected votes affected R K Anand?
The Haryana Assembly has 90 members. Out of 90 votes, Birender Singh got 40 votes, Anand got 21 votes and Chandra got 15 votes while 14 votes were rejected.
After the votes were rejected, in the changed scenario, Singh needed only 26 votes to win. Since he secured 40 votes, the remaining 14 votes were transferred to Chandra as he was the second option marked by BJP MLAs. Chandra eventually ended up with 29 votes. The third candidate, RK Anand, stayed put at 21 votes.
Leader of opposition and INLD leader Abhay Chautala accused Congress legislators of getting their votes rejected during the election.
“Congress party’s 14 votes were rejected because they registered their votes with another pen other than the one provided by the returning officer to record their votes in the voting compartment,” Chautala claimed.
However, Congress questioned the claim saying they had to deposit their pens and mobile phones while entering the Assembly Secretariat for voting.
“This is a wild allegation levelled by INLD,” party leader Kuldeep Sharma said.
Congress MLA Karan Dalal said, “What technology do they have to ascertain that the invalid ballots are of the Congress MLAs. The Congress MLAs were the last to cast their ballot and the official pen controversy happened before we went in to cast our ballot,’’ he said.
A beaming Subhash Chandra later told media persons that MLAs of INLD too had probably voted for him. “It was a Haryanvi versus non-Haryanvi poll contest,’’ Chandra said.
“These elections had become BJP versus the rest of all,” Chandra told in a press conference after his win.
“I fought as an Independent candidate. I got backing from the BJP. I thank them from the core of my heart,” Chandra said.
“We will know the reasons in days to come how these two parties -- the Congress and INLD, which do not see eye to eye, suddenly decided to join hands,” Chandra said.
A senior Congress leader claimed that the incident was a clear case of sabotage by MLAs owing allegiance to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
(With agency inputs)