Opposition parties in Rajasthan came together on Tuesday to force an election to the Rajya Sabha by supporting an independent candidate and giving jitters to the BJP that was expecting an unopposed cakewalk.
Former Union minister and industrialist Kamal Morarka filed his nomination in the Rajasthan assembly on Tuesday, the last day of filing nomination, for the Rajya Sabha poll slated on June 11.
He has the support of the Congress, National People’s Party (NPP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Zamindara Party and independent lawmakers.
Morarka who heads the Samajwadi Janata Party and was in the PMO when Chandrashekhar was the prime minister, said he was hopeful of a win as he has friends across the political spectrum.
“Candidates try and I am also trying but politics should be based on competition not personal enmity and bitterness. I have never indulged in politics of revenge or defection. I cannot do politics of vendetta.”
But the ruling BJP accused its rivals of promoting horse-trading.
“We have 164 MLAs. The numbers game is in favour of the BJP ... the Opposition has no chance of winning, they are just fuelling horse-trading,” minister Arun Chaturvedi said.
Opposition leaders were at pains to play down Morarka’s business background and play up his socialist leanings. They said they were backing him because of his social service.
“We have not fielded a capitalist but a person who is known for his social service to the poor. We have come together against the fascist BJP government,” NPP leader Kirori Meena said.
Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, Rameshwar Dudi, made the Congress’s stand clear, saying its fight is against the BJP and “so we favour the independent candidate”.
But the Congress will take a final decision after the legislature party meeting on Tuesday, he said, though Morarka filled his nomination form in Dudi’s chamber in the assembly.
In the 200-member assembly, there are 199 valid votes as one MLA is in jail. A candidate needs 41 votes to win.
The Congress has 24 MLAs, BSP has three, NPP has four, Zamindara Party has two and they have support of three of the seven independents.
This means, the Opposition has 36 votes, five short of the required number. The BJP has 160 MLAs and support of four independents but any cross-voting could upset its calculations.
The BJP has fielded Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, BJP national vice-president Om Mathur, former RBI officer Ramkumar Verma and Harsh Vardhan Singh, the grandson of former Rajasthan assembly speaker Laxman Singh. Verma is a Dalit while Singh is a Rajput from the erstwhile Dungarpur royal family.