Days after announcing that its legislators would abstain from voting in the Jharkhand Rajya Sabha election in the wake of the Anshuman Mishra fiasco, the BJP finally turned around to support Sanjeev Kumar, the candidate of its ally Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), with which it is running a coalition government in the state.
However, the election commission stopped the counting after R2.15 crore was impounded from a car, meaning the results will be delayed.
A BJP leader said the party's decision taken by senior leaders, including party president Nitin Gadkari, was conveyed to the 18 MLAs-seated together in a room as voting went on- who were told to cast just one vote, with no second preference. Eventually, 17 of the 18 MLAs did only that. This means Sanjeev Kumar will get near-total support not only of the 18-strong JMM legislature party, but of 17 BJP MLAs also.
The party was in two minds almost till the end, with one view that it should abstain to ensure there was no horse-trading, and another that it should make all its MLAs fall in line and then vote for ally JMM.
Jharkhand deputy CM Hemant Soren had been constantly in touch with senior BJP leaders to enlist their support. Some leaders felt that not extending support could mean jeopardising the Arjun Munda-led Jharkhand government.
Days ago, the decision to abstain, announced by party general secretary Ananth Kumar, was hurriedly taken after the party burnt its fingers by almost supporting Anshuma Mishra till leaders like Yashwant Sinha objected to it. Till a day ago, Sushma Swaraj said the party was sticking to its decision to abstain, telling the ally since the numbers required for winning would go down, the JMM candidate would win.