Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP Vice President O P Mathur and two other party nominees were today elected to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan in the elections in which Congress-backed independent candidate Kamal Morarka was defeated.
While Naidu and Mathur each got 42 votes, ruling BJP’s other two candiates Harsh Vardhan, a member of erstwhile Dungarpur royal family, and Ramkumar Verma, a retired RBI official, secured 40 each.
Congress-supported Independent candidate and industrialist Kamal Morarka got 34 votes–24 of Congress, four of National People’s Party, two of BSP and four Independents. One vote was declared invalid.
A candidate needed 40 votes to win in Rajasthan.
Of the total 200 members of the Legislative Assembly, 199 voted in the polling held from 9 am to 4 pm.
BSP MLA B L Kushwah, who is in judicial custody in a murder case since October 2014, was not allowed by the Rajasthan High Court to cast his vote.
BJP has 160 MLAs followed by 24 of Congress, 4 of National People’s Party, three of BSP, two of National Unionist Zamindara Party and seven Independents.
BJP was expecting the support of two legislators of National Unionist Zamindara Party and four independent MLAs and secure a combined tally of 166 votes for its four candidates but figure stood at 164.
After the results of the elections, Mathur said “Rajasthan today went one step ahead in the direction of a Congress-free India”.
Harsh Vardhan and Ramkumar Sharma said that it was the victory of party MLAs and the Chief Minister.
Naidu told reporters that “I am thankful to the party. Th central leadership proposed my name and Rajasthan accepted and the election was won. I will make all efforts to work for the state”.
Union MoS for Energy Piyush Goyal, who was also here, charged that Congress tried to do horse-trading but failed.
“Congress touched a new low by supporting a candidate who had in the past criticised Indira Gandhi and other members of the Gandhi family. It also tried to do horse-trading but failed”, Goyal said.
Polling in Rajasthan was forced by the entry of former union minister Kamal Morarka with the support of Congress and other some other non-BJP parties and independents.
To ensure victory of all the four candidates, BJP held a training camp at a hotel from Wednesday night.
NUZP MLAs Kamini Zindal and Sona Devi and some independent MLAs had also participated in the camp.
However, BJP MLA Ghansyam Tiwari was not present in the training camp and came to the assembly today.
Other MLAs of the party were ferried to the assembly premises in buses from the hotel where the training camp was going on.
Congress alleged that it was herding of the BJP MLAs in the name of training.
“The Chief Minister’s conduct of herding the party MLAs is shameful. She has lost moral right to be the Chief Minister”, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said.