The Congress government in Uttarakhand today crossed one more hurdle in its bid to consolidate its position by winning the Rajya Sabha seat defeating BJP by 8 votes.
Congress nominee Mahendra Singh Mahra, a loyalist of union minister Harish Rawat, got 39 votes and Anil Goyal of BJP bagged 31 votes in the 70-member House, Returning Officer DP Gairola said.
Chief Electoral officer Radha Raturi also said that except the nominated member RV Gardner, all the elected 70 MLAs, including Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, cast their ballots in the polling for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the state where Congress has the strength of 32 seats and BJP 31.
The seat fell vacant after Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi completed his six-year tenure in the Upper House.
Mahara, a two-time former MLA, had lost the recent assembly election from Lohaghat.
However, after bickering in Congress, Rawat bargained with the party high command to get the RS berth for Mahra as well as the post of Speaker post for Kunjwal.
BJP had filed the nomination of Goyal in its desperate bid to exploit the political situation in the ruling the party in the wake of the protests by Harish Rawat group against the appointment of Vijay Bahuguna as chief minister.
Congress earlier won the election for the post of the Speaker and the trust vote, which are being seen as a major boost to the chief minister after the recent assembly polls saw Congress emerging as the single largest party short of majority.
Congress, however, managed to secure the support of BSP, independents and the lone Uttarakhand Kranti Dal MLA to notch up a comfortable majority in the assembly.
"I am thankful to our party president Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and union minister Harish Rawat for giving me this opportunity to enter the Rajya Sabha",” said Mahra as he was garlanded by scores of supporters after the announcement of the results.