Other States

BJP wins all seats from Rajasthan

All the four BJP candidates, including Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, were elected to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan on Saturday in the polls for which the ruling party, despite enjoying a comfortable majority, made all-out efforts to prevent poaching of its MLAs by billeting them in a resort here for three days.

Congress-backed independent candidate and Kamal Morarka lost the elections after garnering only 34 votes against the required 40 for victory. Mr. Morarka, a former Union Minister and industrialist who hails from the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, was supported by the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the National People’s Party (NPP) and a few Independents.

Among the BJP candidates who won the elections, Mr. Naidu and BJP national vice-president Om Prakash Mathur received 42 votes each. The party’s new faces — Harshvardhan Singh, a member of the erstwhile Dungarpur royal family, and Ram Kumar Verma, a retired Reserve Bank of India officer — secured 40 votes each.

Of the total 200 members of the State Assembly, 199 voted in the polling held on the House premises as BSP MLA B.L. Kushwaha, who is in judicial custody in a murder case, was disallowed by the Rajasthan High Court from casting his vote. BJP has 160 members in the House, followed by 24 of the Congress, four of NPP and three of BSP.

In a last-minute attempt to prevent cross-voting, the BJP got its legal cell office-bearer Yogendra Tanwar inducted into National Unionist Zamindara Party and made him election agent to check the votes of the two MLAs of the party, Kamini Jindal and Sona Devi Bawri. Both of them had extended their support to the BJP and attended its “training camp” in the resort.

Election Officer and State Assembly Secretary Prithvi Raj said one vote was declared invalid in the counting.

The BJP now has eight of the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Rajasthan, while the party holds all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the State, which it won in the 2014 general elections.

During the polling, which started at 9 a.m., Leader of Opposition Rameshwar Dudi voted first, and was followed by former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot.

Others who cast their votes early in the day included Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Assembly Speaker Kailash Meghwal.

The NPP extended its support to Mr. Morarka, going against the directive of the central to vote for the BJP candidates.

The NPP MLA Kirori Lal Meena accused the State government of sending policemen to his residence to “intimidate” him into voting for the BJP.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 9:15:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/BJP-wins-all-seats-from-Rajasthan/article14417083.ece

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