As legislators of the PDP-BJP and NC-Congress prepare to vote in the Rajya Sabha elections on Saturday, the result of only two of the four seats is settled. The BJP and PDP will take one seat each; but in the other two seats that are going to polls together, three lawmakers from smaller parties — officially not attached to either camp — will determine the result.
There could even be a tie, if each of the three candidates — from PDP, BJP and Congress — who are contesting the two seats that go to polls together, secures 29 votes. In that case, officials of the Assembly secretariat said, a draw of lots could determine the result.
Meanwhile, both camps have been trying to secure the support of the three officially unattached legislators — M Y Tarigami of CPI(M), Hakeem Yasin of PDF and Engineer Rashid of Awami Itihad Party. Here’s how the election-eve situation looks:
For the seat vacated by PCC chief Saif-ud-Din Soz, there is a contest between Fayaz Mir of PDP and NC’s Sajjad Kitchloo. Mir’s victory is a foregone conclusion. The PDP has 28 legislators, and the support of Independent Syed Mohammad Bakir. BJP has 25 legislators, and the support of Sajjad Lone’s Peoples Conference (2), plus party rebel Pawan Kumar Gupta who won as an Independent in Udhampur. This gives the BJP-PDP 57.
The victory of the BJP candidate at the seat vacated by Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad is similarly assured. The BJP’s Shamsher Singh is the candidate of the BJP-PDP alliance; NC’s Nasir Aslam Wani is the candidate of the NC-Congress alliance.
The contest is open for the third election, in which two seats are going to polls together. This election is for seats that fell vacant after NC’s Mohammad Shafi Uri and Ghulam Nabi Ratanpuri completed their terms.
Here, the BJP has fielded Chander Mohan Sharma, PDP has fielded Nazir Ahmad Laway, and NC-Congress has fielded Ghulam Nabi Azad.
To wrest both seats, the BJP-PDP with 57 votes will need the support of at least two more officially unattached legislators. But if NC-Congress manages to get the support of two Independents, Ghulam Nabi Azad will win his seat.
It is likely that CPM’s Tarigami will go with Congress-NC — but Azad will still have only 28 votes. Engineer Rashid seems unlikely to vote with BJP, but his going with the Congress-NC isn’t certain yet. But an abstention will be seen as being as good as a vote for the BJP-PDP — so he might eventually vote for the Congress-NCcandidate.
Which means Azad gets 29 votes, but he will still win only if Hakeem Yasin too comes along. Azad’s problem is Yasin has not shown any reservations about the BJP-PDP — and is, according to sources, bargaining hard.
If Yasin goes with the BJP-PDP and Tarigami and Rashid go with Congress-NC, both candidates will be tied at 29 votes. “There is some confusion about what happens then, and we may have to approach the Election Commission for advice,” a senior official involved in the election said.
The official added, “We had a similar situation during the Legislative Council elections a few years ago, when two candidates had 16 votes each. The procedure is to write the names of the candidates on chits, and have a person who can’t read or write pull one out. The candidate whose name is on that chit is excluded. But, here we have three candidates, and I am not sure what the procedure should be.”
There are two possible results in these RS polls: either 4-0 or 3-1 to BJP-PDP.