Rajya Sabha poll sees high drama in UP, Karnataka, Jharkhand
There was high drama in some states where Rajya Sabha polls were held on Friday, as the contending parties cried foul over claims of cross-voting and in some cases “double voting”. Counting got delayed in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Jharkhand and started only after specific directions from the Election Commission.
Polling in the keenly watched Uttar Pradesh witnessed day-long intrigue, allegations of irregularities and cross-voting as it went down to the wire for the 10th seat before the BJP’s Anil Agrawal trounced the BSP-SP-Congress alliance’s Bhimrao Ambedkar.
Agarwal got 16 first preference votes while Ambedkar got 32 first preference votes. Agarwal had more second preference votes but Ambedkar did not get any second preference votes.
In all, the BJP won nine seats and SP one of the 10 seats that went to polls in UP.
The BJP winners were: union finance minister Arun Jaitley, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav, GVL Narasimha Rao and Anil Agarwal. For SP Jaya Bachchan emerged victorious.
There was drama in Karnataka, too, where the Congress won three seats and the BJP one. A total of 188 legislators out of the 225 voted and four these votes were set aside. As a result, each candidate required 37 votes to sail through.
This was because only two Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs cast their vote, as the party decided to boycott the polls after two Congress MLAs were issued two ballot papers after they cast their vote to the wrong candidate. Those votes were subsequently set aside by the EC.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar of the BJP received the highest number of 50 votes. GC Chandrasekhar of the Congress received 46 votes, his partymen L Hanumanthaiah and Syed Naseer Hussain received 44 and 42 votes, respectively.
The seven rebel JD(S) candidates, who are set to join the Congress on Sunday in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi, appear to have voted for the Congress, as the JD(S) candidate BM Farook got only two votes.
Jharkhand too reported allegations of cross-voting and sabotage as the BJP and the Congress bagged one seat each.
While BJP’s Sameer Uraon was the clear winner, Congress candidate Dhiraj Prasad Sahu snatched victory from the BJP’s second candidate Pradeep Kumar Sonthalia by a fraction of value of votes, after taking into consideration second preference votes of three BJP legislators.
The official announcement by the election commission was, however, awaited as the BJP raised objection over a ballot and demanded recounting.
Two votes were rejected during the counting of votes and the total valid votes stood at 78 out of the 80 legislators who exercised their franchise.
In West Bengal, Congress spokesperson Avishek Manu Singhvi had a smooth sailing when Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLAs, including chief minister Mamata Banerjee, voted for him.
The Trinamool’s decision to back Singhvi initially created a discord between the Left and the state Congress leaders but after voting was over MLAs from both sides said they would continue with their floor coordination against the TMC inside the Assembly.
With numbers on their side, the four TMC candidates, Nadimul Haque, Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Dr Santunu Sen, got elected without any hitch.
(With Inputs from Lucknow, Bengaluru, Ranchi, Kolkata)