Bangalore: The Congress suffered a setback in the Karnataka legislative council poll Monday, as one of its four nominees lost due to cross-voting in the secret ballot, while Independent candidate Byrathy Suresh won with maximum votes.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, survived a scare to get six of its candidates elected, with two of them on second preferential votes.
Of the 12 candidates in the fray for the 11 seats for which polling was held at Vidhana Soudha earlier in the day, BJP won six, Congress three, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) one and Independents one.
Only state legislative assembly members (MLAs) participate in the council election.
In accordance with the assembly strength, a candidate requires 19 votes to get elected to the upper house (council).
Of the 225-member house, including a nominated member, 222 votes were polled, as one vote of BJP member (Rudresh Gowda) was declared invalid, while two members, including Independent B. Sriramulu and BJP`s Nandish Reddy were not present to vote.
With 71 members in the lower house, though the Congress fielded four nominees, it counted on the five independents to get its candidate Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi the required (19) votes after ensuring 57 votes for three of them. It was not to be.
Due to cross-voting in the fiction-ridden party, Saradgi could musteronly 16 votes, losing the keen contest by three votes, while the party`s other three nominees - Motamma, K. Govindaraj and M.R. Seetharam sailed through.
Similarly, with 120 members, the ruling party`s (BJP) candidates should have won all the six seats comfortably, with six surplus votes. Instead of getting 20 votes each, two of its six nominees polled 19 votes and were declared elected only on second preferential votes, thanks to cross-voting by some of its "unidentified" members.
The JD-S, with 26 members, not only got its official nominee S.M. Agha elected on first count, but also ensured its seven surplus votes to Suresh, who secured 23 votes with 16 from the BJP and the Congress due to cross-voting.
A BJP spokesperson said the party would enquire to ascertain if there was cross-voting by its lawmakers, while the Congress said it would assess how its calculations went awry resulting in Saradgi`s defeat.