Rajya Sabha setback for BJP as HC allows voting by postal ballot, another Congress MLA secures bail

first_imgThe BJP’s chances of securing the third Rajya Sabha seat from Madhya Pradesh suffered a setback when the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday allowed Leader of Opposition, Congress MLA Satyadev Katare to cast his vote through postal ballot, setting aside the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) directive issued earlier on the matter.Katare is admitted at a private hospital in Mumbai and the ECI had refused to entertain the pleas of the Congress to allow Katare to vote through postal ballot. The Congress meanwhile received a shot in the arm with Barwani MLA, Rajesh Patel, who was in jail and was also refused voting by postal ballot by the ECI, being granted bail from the High Court to cast his vote.In another blow to the BJP, the Supreme Court refused to entertain the petition of BJP MLA from Deosar, Rajendra Meshram’s plea to allow him to vote in the RS elections slated for June 11.APPEAL The Congress had appealed against the ECI decision to not allow voting by postal ballot at the High Court at Jabalpur. The HC had fixed Thursday for the hearing and asked the ECI’s lawyers to present their case. After the hearing, the HC allowed voting by postal ballot.The BJP has fielded Anil Dave and MJ Akbar as the official candidates while the Congress has put up Vivek Tankha as its official candidate in the polls for the 3 vacancies in the RS from MP. The BJP however has also fielded one of its party leaders Vinod Gotiya as an independent for the RS polls slated for June 11.advertisementAmidst the setbacks, the BJP has called a meeting of the legislature party on Thursday evening at the CM’s residence. Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar is also expected to attend the meeting. Sources in the BJP said that the MLAs would also be trained on how to vote for the RS elections. MLAs will be told by name which candidate they have to vote for, said sources.This is how the numbers stack up:The BJP has 166 seats, the Congress 57, the BSP 4 and independents 3 in the 230 member MP assembly.With BJP MLA Rajendra Meshram being debarred from voting, the BJP now has only 165 votes. Each candidate needs 58 votes to win his seat.While the BJP’s official candidates will sail through with 116 votes, the BJP has 49 more votes in its kitty. Gotiya needs 9 more votes to win of which 3 are expected to come from the independents.However with still 6 short of the magic number, horse trading is a very real possibility with the BJP refusing to give up on the contest.OUTSIDE SUPPORT The Congress has also received the support of 4 BSP MLAs taking the total votes of the party candidate to 61 thereby having the numbers to make its candidate win.Congress leader and former union minister Kamal Nath would arrive in Bhopal on Thursday evening along with general secretary in charge of MP Mohan Prakash. They are expected to stay in Bhopal till voting for the RS elections on June 11.last_img read more