New Delhi: In a major embarrassment to the Congress, the party’s Ajay Maken lost to media baron Kartikeya Sharma, an independent backed by the BJP, in Haryana, while in a major setback to the Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, the BJP won three of the six Rajya Sabha seats in the state.
In the 90-member Haryana Assembly, 31 votes were required to win. The strength was reduced 88 as an independent MLA abstained and one vote was declared invalid and the cut-off fell to 29.34. The BJP’s Krishan Lal Panwar secured 31 votes. Maken polled 29 votes while Sharma polled 28. After the BJP’s requirement was deducted, the remaining 1.66 votes got transferred to Sharma as second preference votes. He scraped through with 29.66 votes while Maken remained at 29.
Insiders claimed party MLA Kiran Chaudhary’s vote was declared invalid, a charge she vehemently denied. Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi did not vote for Maken, and was later suspended.
After the results were announced, Bishnoi tweeted, “I have the capability to crush snake’s hood, as I do not leave the jungle for fear of snakes.”
Late on Friday, Sharma and the BJP demanded disqualification votes of two Congress MLAs, Kiran Chaudhary and B.B. Batra. They alleged that the Congress MLAs showed their preference of votes to several people other than the party agent. The matter went upto the Election Commission of India who only allowed voting post midnight and one vote was declared invalid.
Maken’s loss will have serious ramifications not only in Haryana Congress but also in AICC as he is seen to be close to senior leader Rahul Gandhi. General secretary Randeep Surjewala who is from Haryana was given a safe seat in Rajasthan while Maken was made to fight it out.
In Maharashtra, the counting got delayed as the BJP and its Opposition filed complaints and counter complaints after which the vote of Shiv Sena MLA Suhas Kande was declared invalid.
Two NCP members — Cabinet minister Nawab Malik and former home minister Anil Deshmukh — who are in judicial custody were not allowed to vote. Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Lake had passed away last month.
In this backdrop, the Sena, which had fielded two candidates managed to only get Sanjay Raut elected. Its second candidate, Sanjay Pawar, lost. At the end of the second round of counting of votes, Dhananjay Mahadik pulled off a victory with 41 votes to Pawar’s 33.
The other BJP winners were Union minister Piyush Goyal and former state minister Anil Bonde. The NCP’s Praful Patel and Congress’ Imran Pratapgarhi also won the fiercely-fought elections.
After the stunning setback, Congress leaders admitted shortcomings in coordination the in the ruling alliance. Maharashtra revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat told reporters in Vidhan Bhavan that it is a matter of study as to what went wrong.
BJP “was cunning in holding up the counting and getting one vote declared invalid. We were confident that all four of our candidates will win comfortably,” the Congress leader said.
BJP’s Krishan Lal Panwar elected, transfers second preference votes to get media baron Kartikeya Sharma elected.
Congress’ Ajay Maken, Rahul Gandhi’s aide, lost by 0.66 votes. One MLA cross-voted, one vote disqualified.
Union minister Piyush Goyal and former state minister Anil Bonde of BJP, NCP’s Praful Patel, Congress’ Imran Pratapgarhi and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut won.
For the sixth seat, two Shiv Sena alliance voters were unavailable and one more declared invalid after BJP protests. BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik pulled off a victory over Sena’s Sanjay Pawar
I have the capability to crush snake’s hood, as I do not leave the jungle for fear of snakes.
Congress MLA who defied party, suspended
Devendra Fadnavis succeeded in working the miracle of weaning away independent MLAs from rival camps using different means.
– Sharad Pawar, NCP chief
“Elections are contested not just for the fight, but the victory. Jai Maharashtra,”
– Devendra Fadnavis, Maha former CM