Rajya Sabha polls: Congress wins 3 seats, BJP one in Karnataka

The ruling Congress in Karnataka on Friday bagged three Rajya Sabha seats and BJP one in the biennial election.

Rajya Sabha polls: Congress wins 3 seats, BJP one in Karnataka

Bengaluru: The ruling Congress in Karnataka on Friday bagged three Rajya Sabha seats and BJP one in the biennial election, amid a boycott of the poll by the JDS, alleging electoral malpractice.

Congress's Dr L Hanumanthaiah, Dr Syed Naseer Hussain and GC Chandrasekhar and BJP's Rajeev Chandrashekar were declared elected after a complaint by the JDS to the Election Commission caused delay in taking up counting of votes.

With its strength in the Assembly, the Congress was sure of winning two seats and eyed the third seat and won it with the support of JDS rebels and independents.

The fight was for the third seat between the third candidate of the Congress's Chandrasekhar and JDS's BM Farooq, with the ruling party pulling off a bonus victory.

JDS has 37 MLAs, falling short of the required 44 votes by 14, with its seven rebels tilting towards the Congress.

Businessman Rajeev Chandrasekhar secured 50 votes, six more than required, with the support from smaller parties and independents.

Congress candidate Chandrasekhar received 46 votes, Hanumanthaiah 44 and Hussain 42.
Two votes were declared invalid and two rejected.

Taking cognisance of a complaint by JDS, the Election Commission directed the Returning Officer MS Kumaraswamy to reject two votes cast by Congress MLAs and segregate them before taking up counting as EC found violation of procedures under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.

The EC also divested Returning Officer Murthy of his charge following the violation with Kumaraswamy coming in his place.

JDS boycotted the polls midway alleging electoral malpractice and collusion of the returning officer with the Congress.

JDS state unit chief and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy demanded counter-mandating of the election, charging that the returning officer, in 'collusion' with the ruling party, allowed two of its members to recast their vote after they 'cross-voted'.

As the poll process was underway, Kumaraswamy claimed that two senior Congress MLAs had "cross voted" against their party's official nominees by marking for another candidate on the ballot paper.

However, on the request of the ruling party's agent, the returning officer later allowed both candidates to vote once again by issuing them a fresh ballot paper, he alleged.

"Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, who was a former speaker, and MLA Baburao Chinchansur, both of them have cross-voted in the first ballot paper, then they have shown it to their agent, he said.

"After seeing the cross-voting the agent protested. Then the Returning Officer allowed these two voters to vote once again, the second vote," Kumaraswamy told reporters here.

Kumaraswamy later announced a boycott of the election after two of the JDS MLAs had cast their vote and accused the Congress of indulging in "money politics."

Rejecting the charge, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, "It appears they (JDS) are desperate..They have tried everything.. They had gone to the court (on seven rebel JDS MLA issue), they failed in the court, and desperately they are making these allegations."

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