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Straight contest between Pandey and Bajaj for RS

On the last day of withdrawal of nominations, Sambhaji Pawar, the dummy candidate put by BJP, withdrew his nomination.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 19:16 IST

A straight contest for the June 15 Rajya Sabha bye-election is on the cards between Congress candidate Avinash Pande and industrialist Rahul Bajaj who is supported by NCP, Shiv Sena and BJP.

On the last day of withdrawal of nominations on Thursday, Sambhaji Pawar, the dummy candidate put by BJP, withdrew his nomination.

The Rajya Sabha election is being held to fill in the vacancy caused by the death of senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan who died on May three.

Pandey told reporters that he was confident of victory as he enjoyed the support of independent members of the state assembly.

Bajaj, who needed a minimum 145 votes to sail through to the Rajya Sabha, is sure of victory going by the strength of NCP, BJP and Sena in the 288-member state assembly.

Following is the party position in the state assembly: Cong 73, NCP 71, Sena 58, BJP 54, Jansurajya Party 4, CPM 3, PWP 2, BRP Mahasangh 1, RPI-A 1, Swatantra Bharat Party 1, Akhil Bharatiya Sena 1, Independents 19 and one nominated member.

Of the 288 elected members of the state assembly, 287 are eligible to vote in this election. This is because former minister Swarupsinh Naik, sentenced to one month imprisonment by Supreme Court in a contempt case, is not eligible to vote as per provisions of Representation of Peoples Act.

Returning Officer A Kalse said that voting would begin on 9 am on June 15 and would conclude at 4 pm The result is expected to be available by 6 pm.

First Published: Jun 08, 2006 19:16 IST