Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and BJP candidates Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki on Friday won Rajya Sabha elections from Madhya Pradesh, an official said. The Congress' other candidate, Dalit leader Phool Singh Barriya, lost the election.
While Singh is returning to the Rajya Sabha for second consecutive term, Scindia, his once arch rival in the Madhya Pradesh Congress who is now with the BJP, is entering the Upper House of Parliament for the first time.
Digvijaya Singh bagged 57 votes, Scindia 56 and Solanki 55, the poll official said. Barriya got 36 votes in the biennial election to three vacant seats from Madhya Pradesh. All 206 MLAs cast ballots during the voting which began at 9 in the morning at the Assembly complex.
Even a Congress MLA who has contracted coronavirus arrived in an ambulance, wearing Personal Protection Equipment kit. He was the last one to vote.
Poll officials said the votes of BJP MLAs Gopilal Jatav and Jugal Kishore Bagdi were canceled for technical reasons. Each candidate in the fray needed 52 votes to win.
The BJP has its own 107 MLAs and enjoys the support of two BSP, one SP and two Independents. The ruling party thus has support of 112 members in the 230-member Assembly whose effective strength is 206.
With the death of two legislators and resignation of 22 rebel Congress MLAs who were loyal to Scindia, there are 24 vacant seats in the Assembly.
The Congress is now left with 92 MLAs after 22 legislators, including six ministers, deserted it along with Scindia in March, leading to fall of the Kamal Nath government and return of the BJP to power.
Scindia had been sulking ever since the party had ignored him for CM’s post and preferred Nath for the coveted post. And many believe it only happened after Singh reappeared in state politics. Till then Scindia was considered as favourite to lead the grand old party to power.
Not taking any chances, the Congress on Friday ferried its MLAs to the voting centre in two buses after they gathered at Nath's residence in the morning.
Two buses with 54 MLAs including Nath, the state Congress chief, reached the voting venue and cast vote for the party's first preference nominee Digvijaya Singh.
Later, second lot of 37 Congress MLAs left for the Assembly complex and voted for the party's second preference nominee Barriya, a leader of Gwalior-Chambal region.
Sanjay Yadav, who was in the first batch of Congress voters, said that no one in his party cross-voted. "The betrayers had already left us," he said, referring to 22 rebel Congress legislators who resigned.
Meanwhile, the Congress dubbed rejection of the two BJP votes as big strategic failure on the part of the BJP. Much to the respite of the Congress, none of its MLAs cross voted in the RS polls.
Later, the BJP hit out at the Congress for letting down its Dalit face, claiming that Baraiya had been fielded only to make him lose. Blaming Singh for Baraiya's loss, the saffron camp it was insult to the Dalit community.
(With inputs from PTI)