In a major embarrassment for the BJP,senior party leader S S Ahluwalia was defeated in the Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand today,losing out to Congress candidate Pradeep Balmuchu. The JMMs Sanjeev Kumar won the second RS seat from the state.
Elections to the two RS seats from Jharkhand were held today after the Election Commission countermanded the poll process on March 30 following seizure of Rs 2.15 crore cash from a car belonging to the brother of independent candidate R K Agarwal. The seats fell vacant after Ahluwalia and Mabel Rebello completed their terms.
In todays poll,Balmuchu emerged first with 25 votes while Sanjeev Kumar got 23 votes. Ahluwalia could only manage 20 votes 18 from BJP and two from ally JD(U) MLAs. Two independent MLAs supporting the BJP-JMM government in the state voted for Balmuchu.
In the 80-member Assembly (one seat vacant),a total of 68 MLAs cast their votes. Twelve MLAs 11 of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha led by former CM Babulal Marandi and one CPI(ML) stayed away. A candidate needed at least 23 votes in order to win.
Besides the 13 Congress MLAs,Balmuchu got the support of five RJD MLAs and seven independents,including Enos Ekka and Harinarain Rai,who have been jailed for fraud,criminal conspiracy,corruption and money laundering. Sanjeev Kumar got the 18 JMM MLAs votes and five votes from ally AJSU.
The BJPs defeat immediately triggered off a blame game within the Jharkhand BJP with detractors of Chief Minister Arjun Munda blaming him for failing to mobilise support for Ahulwalia.
However,JMM secretary Binod Pandey said the BJP leadership in Delhi had fielded Ahulwalia without consulting its allies. The results have proved that regional parties like us cannot be dictated to from the national capital.said Pandey.