P.J. Kurien of the Congress, Joy Abraham of Kerala Congress (M), and C.P. Narayanan of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M] were on Monday elected to the Rajya Sabha from the State in accordance with the respective strengths of the two main coalitions.
Polling, which began at 9 a.m., went according to the script, with Prof. Kurien, Mr. Abraham, and Mr. Narayanan getting 37, 36, and 36 first-preference votes respectively.
Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate C.N. Chandran, whose presence in the fray necessitated polling, got 31 first-preference votes. The voting time was till 4 p.m. but all the votes were cast by 1 p.m., the last voter being Nationalist Congress Party legislator Thomas Chandy. It took less than 30 minutes for the counting votes, which began at 5 p.m., and the official declaration to be made.
Voting took place in a relaxed manner as it was well-known that there would be hardly any scope for cross-voting owing to the changes made in the Conduct of Election rules under which voters are required to show their ballot to the designated polling agents.
Two complaints were registered in connection with the voting. The first complaint was made by CPI’s polling agent V.S. Sunil Kumar who alleged that Works Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju of the IUML and Roshy Augustine of Kerala Congress (M) had showed their ballots to Congress Agent Benny Behanan. The second complaint was by Joseph Vazhakkan who alleged that K. Ajit Kumar, MLA, had corrected his ballot after showing it to Mr. Sunil Kumar. However, both the complaints were later withdrawn.
Mr. Narayanan, a Marxist ideologue, had served as Member, Planning Board. He was political secretary to the then Chief Minister, V.S. Achuthanandan, during the later half of the latter’s term. He was also the editor of Chintha Varika, a publication of the CPI(M).
Prof. Kurien returns to the Rajya Sabha for a third term. His third term in the Upper House of Parliament would run for six years. He had a long innings as Lok Sabha member, for six terms, representing Mavelikara and Idukki constituencies.
He began his Rajya Sabha stint by getting elected for a one-year term and followed it up by getting elected unopposed for a full six-year term in 2006. He was elected Chief Whip of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha in 2008. He was Minister of State for Commerce and Industry in the Narasimha Rao Cabinet. In his capacity as Member of Parliament, Prof. Kurien severed on the board of several Central scientific institutions, including the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences in Thiruvaanthapuram.
Mr. Abraham is the general secretary of the Kerala Congress (M). He was elected to the Assembly from Poonjar in 1991. He was nominated by party leader K.M. Mani for being a loyal party man.
Keywords: Rajya Sabha polls