Polling ends for lone Rajya Sabha seat from Himachal Pradesh - Hindustan Times
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Polling ends for lone Rajya Sabha seat from Himachal Pradesh

Feb 27, 2024 01:33 PM IST

BJP has fielded Harsh Mahajan against Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi; counting to begin at 5pm

Polling for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Himachal Pradesh, which began at 9 am on Tuesday, ended with Congress MLA from Chintpurni Sudershan Babloo casting the last vote.

Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu casting his vote for the Rajya Sabha election at the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in Shimla on Tuesday. (HT Photo)
Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu casting his vote for the Rajya Sabha election at the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in Shimla on Tuesday. (HT Photo)

All 68 members have voted with Independent MLA from Hamipur Ashish Sharma being the first to cast his vote.

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Congress MLA Babloo was brought to the assembly in a helicopter as he was unwell.

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After casting his vote, chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the MLAs have voted according to the ideology of the party. “We have 40 MLAs in the Vidhan Sabha and unless MLAs are bought off, we will get all the votes,” he said.

The BJP has fielded Harsh Mahajan against Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Mahajan, a three-time Congress MLA and former minister, had resigned from the party in September 2022 ahead of the assembly polls and joined the BJP. The Congress has a clear majority with 40 out of the 68 MLAs and the support of three independent MLAs.

Despite the fact that the BJP, with 25 MLAs, is far behind in the number game, it has forced a contest by fielding Mahajan against Singhvi.

Leader of the Opposition Jai Ram Thakur had earlier said that it was the democratic right of the MLAs to vote and it was not necessary that the candidate be elected unopposed. “We have fielded the candidate gauging the situation and hope that all MLAs will exercise their vote according to their conscience,” he added.

Amid fear of cross-voting, the Congress assigned ministers Harshvardhan Chauhan, Jagat Singh Negi and Rohit Thakur besides chief parliamentary secretary Sanjay Awasthi the responsibility to keep a tab on its MLAs.

The Congress had asked all its MLAs to vote for Singhvi following which the BJP accused it of issuing a whip to its members to pressurise them and maintained that the MLAs have been elected democratically and have the right to vote according to their wish.

The BJP candidate has sent a complaint to the chief election commissioner, drawing his attention to the three-line whip issued by the Congress to vote for the party candidate. In his complaint, Mahajan said that such a whip is not only unethical but also against the conducting of elections to the Rajya Sabha.

Singhvi hosted a dinner for Congress legislators on Monday in which AICC secretary in-charge for Himachal Pradesh, Rajeev Shukla, and deputy chief minister Mukesh Agnihotri were present.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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