BJP candidates M J Akbar and Anil Dave and Congress’ Vivek Tankha on Saturday were elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, while an independent candidate backed by BJP was defeated.
BJP’s bid to spoil the Congress candidate’s chances by fielding BJP leader Vinod Gotia as an independent candidate did not bear fruit. Gotia got 50 votes–48 surplus votes of BJP and two independents–against the required 58.
Senior journalist M J Akbar and state BJP leader and strategist Dave polled 58 votes each, while Tankha secured 62 votes–57 from Congress, four from BSP and one independent, returning officer Bhagwandas Israni said.
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BSP supremo Mayawati had issued a whip to its four MLAs to vote for Tankha.
The strength of Madhya Pradesh Assembly is 230. A total of 228 MLAs–164 of BJP, 57 of Congress, 4 of BSP and 3 independents–cast votes.
BJP MLA Rajendra Dadu died in a road accident on June 9, while the Supreme Court restrained another of its MLAs, Rajendra Meshram from voting following a petition.
BJP also threw its weight behind Gotia. To counter the move, senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Mohan Prakash, Sushil Kumar Shinde, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and former Union Minister Suresh Pachouri were camping here to keep the party’s flock together.