Media baron and BJP-backed Independent candidate Subhash Chandra unexpectedly won in the Rajya Sabha polls Saturday after 14 votes of the Congress were declared invalid.
BJP’s first candidate, Union Minister Birender Singh, won the other seat in the state.
Independent candidate R K Anand who had filed his nomination with support from INLD, and for whom Congress announced support Friday, lost.
In the 90-member Assembly, BJP has 47 MLAs. The party required 31 votes to ensure Singh’s victory. However, he needed only 26 votes when 14 votes were declared invalid. A total of 40 votes were polled in his favour. The additional 14 votes got transferred to Chandra with second preference votes increasing his tally to 29. He polled 15 votes.
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The Congress has 17 MLAs in the House while INLD has 19. With one INLD candidate cross-voting for Chandra, Anand polled 18 INLD votes but only three valid votes from the Congress. It is being alleged that 14 Congress MLAs took their own pens, and did not use the one provided by the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat, to cast their vote.
Leader of Opposition and INLD leader Abhay Chautala said after Anand’s defeat: “We always doubted their (Congress) intentions. We knew Congress could be bought. Votes of 14 Congress MLAs were rejected, thereby benefitting the BJP. While they voted for Anand, they used the wrong pen. They call us the B team of BJP and said they were voting against BJP as it is a communal party. But their claims are now exposed. B S Hooda left the ballot paper blank,” alleged Chautala.
CLP Leader Kiran Choudhry said: “I am completely shocked. It is a conspiracy against the Congress. A thorough probe is needed.”
Birender Singh said that in a meeting of the BJP held last night, “it was decided that I will get 40 votes and 12 BJP MLAs will vote for Subhash Chandra. Further, the second preference votes were to go to Chandra”.
Chandra told reporters that Anand’s announcement that he will support the Congress did not go down well with the INLD MLAs. “This election was about Haryanvi vs non-Haryanvi and BJP vs non-BJP parties,” he said.