New Delhi  : Out of the 58 seats that fell vacant in the Upper House this summer, the NDA has now won 23, improving upon the 18 seats it held earlier. The Congress, which held 15 of these seats, now has nine. However, the BJP does not have the time to savour these wins. Gearing up for the forthcoming UP state assembly elections due next year, its leadership moved in quickly and suspended its MLA from Gorakhpur Rural Vijay Bahadur Yadav for cross voting during Rajya Sabha biennial polls.

“I have recommended the state unit chief to take action against Yadav as his act comes under voluntary anti-defection law,” said Suresh Khanna leader of the party in UP Assembly. Yadav however was unrepentant of his decision to vote for a Samajwadi Party candidate and maintained that he done the right thing. “I voted on the basis of development done by the chief minister and I am ready to make any sacrifice,” he said.

Similarly, the Janata Dal (Secular) suspended eight of its MLAs over allegations of cross voting, almost in retaliation for the humiliating blow suffered by it as these MLAs voted in favour of the Congress.

But the most ticklish situation has emerged in the BJP ruled state of Haryana where both the seats have gone to the saffron party and the Indian National Lok Dal’s candidate, the senior lawyer R K Anand, who was also supported by the Congress, was defeated although the required number of votes had been cast in his favour.

Officials have said that 14 votes were declared as invalid as the Congress legislators used wrong ink. Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has conveyed to the party bosses that it was the Returning Officer’s fault because the pen used to cast votes was provided by him.

Now the Congress will approach the Election Commission to seek a re-poll. Party general secretary B K Hariprasad said that the party will lodge a protest with the Election Commission that there was ‘misuse of government machinery’ in the elections for the two seats of Rajya Sabha. He also said that there was no question of taking action against the party legislators for internal sabotage as the pen used by them to cast their vote was deliberately switched by the officials to ensure that the Congress votes were declared invalid.

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Free Press Journal