Cross-voting kept all on tenterhooks
THE PROBLEM of cross-voting in Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishad polls kept all the candidates on tenterhooks throughout the day on Tuesday.
As soon polling started there were heated arguments between Congress MLA from Moradabad Shamimul Haq and party agent MLC Nasib Pathan over open ballot for Rajya Sabha. Haq questioned Pathan’s authority that led to arguments.
However, after intervention of other leaders Haq showed his vote, which had been given to Samajwadi Party. Pathan said he would report the issue to party leadership. The Congress shot off a complaint to the election commission, which led to delay in the counting by nearly two hours.
Similarly, when BJP’s Sandip Agarwal (Moradabad) exercised his vote in favour of SP nominee and showed it publicly, BJP agent Surya Prakash Shahi objected to it and asked the returning officer RP Pandey to declare the vote invalid.
The members of BSP breakaway group, now recognised as Loktantrik Bahujan Dal (LBD) by the Supreme Court, refused to show their votes to SP agents. There were heated exchanges between LBD MLAs and SP deputy leader in the House and revenue minister Ambika Chaudhury. LBD leader Virendra Singh told newsmen that the group’s MLAs were covered by the recent law allowing open ballot for Rajya Sabha. While five members of the group, led by Jaivir Singh, openly came out in support of the BSP candidates, some others are also reported to have voted for the BSP.
In view of the cross-voting, agents of every party checked the votes of their party MLAs for Rajya Sabha candidates. There was no open ballot system for Vidhan Parishad.
Emerging from polling centre the state BJP president Keshari Nath Tripathi told newsmen that there was cross-voting in every party. “We will look into the matter”, Tripathi said.
SP rebel MLA Kamlesh Pathak said he had voted for the BSP’s Munqad Ali and his second preference vote went to Balihari of BSP. Pathak said there was large-scale cross-voting in SP. Pathak said he was ready to face disciplinary action from the SP.
The parties’ polling agents were: PWD minister Shivpal Singh Yadav and Ambika Chaudhury (SP), Nasimuddin Siddique, Sawmi Prasad Maurya (BSP), Suryaprakash Shahi, Jai Prakash Chaturvedi (BJP), Jagdambika Pal and Nasib Pathan (Congress) and Virendra Singh (RLD).