Cross voting by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and three Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators in favour of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar's Rajya Sabha elections Thursday ended the hopes of an independent candidate to make it to the upper house.
BJP legislator Banwari Ram and three BSP legislators, including Sita Sundari, admitted voting for RJD's Ram Kirpal Yadav despite party whips Wednesday. Five Rajya Sabha members are to be elected from Bihar.
Sources in the state assembly told IANS that B.G. Uday, a Bangalore-based businessman nominated as the sixth candidate for the five seats, had got only two votes until afternoon.
"More than 90 percent legislators voted till 1.30 p.m. The remaining will vote by 4," an official said. The Bihar assembly has 243 legislators.
Both the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the opposition led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) are hopeful of winning three and two seats they are contesting respectively.
Bihar's Minority Welfare Minister Sahid Ali Khan said all the five candidates from different parties are set to win. "The legislators voted for their parties," he said.
In the contest are LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, BJP national spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Janata Dal-United's (JD-U) R.C.P. Singh, a former Indian Administrative Service officer.
The JD-U has also fielded Upendra Kushwaha while the RJD-LJP combine's second candidate is Ram Kirpal Yadav.
The presence of Uday as the sixth candidate created fears of cross-voting.
An independent legislator, Dadan Pahalwan, who faces several criminal cases, and five other legislators, including independents, proposed Uday's nomination. But most of them, except Pahalwan, changed sides at the last moment.
The RJD and LJP have 68 legislators against the requirement of 76 to ensure victory of both its nominees.
The Congress, with 10 legislators, has decided to abstain from voting. The JD-U and BJP have 135 legislators. It has 21 surplus votes, over the 114 required to ensure the victory of its three nominees.