The three-cornered contest for two Rajya Sabha seats in Haryana Friday turned out to be a thriller. While the ruling BJP’s official nominee Krishan Panwar romped home, the principal Opposition Congress’s candidate Ajay Maken failed to sail through despite his party’s adequate numbers in a dead heat whose outcome could be determined only in the wee hours of Saturday.
The Independent candidate backed by the BJP and its ally JJP, Kartikeya Sharma, media baron, edged out Maken because of the Congress MLAs and party satrap Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s detractors, Kuldeep Bishnoi and Kiran Choudhry. According to Congress sources, while Bishnoi did not vote for Maken, Choudhry “wrongly cast her ballot”.
In the final calculation of votes polled, it appeared that Maken lost to Sharma with a margin of barely 2/3rd of a vote (0.66 lesser vote than Sharma). The Haryana Assembly has 90 members. The formula of calculating the required score to ensure the victory of a Rajya Sabha candidate from a state is: Number of MLAs x 100 divided by number of Rajya Sabha vacancies + 1. That is how the total score or value of votes is calculated for each contesting candidate.
In Haryana’s case, it could be calculated as 90 X 100 divided by 2+1, which equals 3000. However, one of the state’s 90 MLAs abstained from voting, while one vote was rejected. This left Haryana’s total count to 88 MLAs whose votes were found valid. Going by the same formula – 88 X 100 divided by 2+1 — it turned out to be 2933.33 (rounded off to 2934). So, this figure, 2934, was the qualifying score for a candidate in Haryana’s Rajya Sabha fray.
The ruling camp accounted for 58 votes including the BJP’s 40 MLAs, JJP’s 10, one each of Haryana Lokhit Party and INLD, and six Independent MLAs. The Congress originally accounted for 31 votes, of which one was cancelled and one was used for cross-voting for the ruling camp making the latter’s tally 59.
Panwar got 36 votes (first preference) while Sharma got 23 votes (first preference). As per the formula, Panwar’s score became 36 x 100 = 3600 while he required only 2934. Sharma’s score became 23 x 100 = 2300, but Panwar’s surplus score of 666 also got added to his score making it 2966. Maken got 29 votes polled in his favour and his score remained at 29 x 100 = 2900, which fell 34 short of the qualifying score. Thus, he lost the poll.
In simpler terms, with 88 valid votes and three candidates contesting for two seats, the two candidates who would poll more than one-third of 88 (29.34) would win. Going by this calculation, Panwar got 29.34, Sharma 29.66 while Maken got 29.00.
Panwar won straight by the BJP members’ first preference votes. In Sharma’s case, the combination of first and second preference votes made him victorious. The Congress MLAs, on the other hand, did not exercise any second preference in their ballots, marking only their candidate Maken as their first preference. Maken did not get the benefit of any second preference vote.