Congress is likely to suspend its Haryana MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi for allegedly cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha, which eventually led to the loss of senior Congress leader Ajay Maken, reported news agency ANI. The report further stated that a letter seeking for his membership to be revoked from the Vidhan Sabha will be sent to the Speaker.
In a closely fought contest, Maken lost to Independent candidate and media baron Karitkeya Sharma, who was backed by BJP and its ally JJP, by a thin margin. Beside getting the backing of other Independent candidates, Sharma also got the crucial vote of Bishnoi. Hitting out at Bishnoi, Maken on Saturday told reporters that action should be taken against the Adampur Congress legislator,
“We were ahead of Independent candidate in preference 1 result. We objected that 1 vote which was given to independent should be cancelled. But our vote was cancelled and their rejected vote was accepted. We’re getting this examined legally,” Maken was quoted as telling to reporters by news agency ANI. Congress stalwart and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda confirmed to reporters that strict action will be taken against Bishnoi.
Reacting to Bishnoi’s cross-voting, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, while addressing the media late last night just after his party’s win, said, “He must have done this only after being impressed by the policies of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his government. Bishnoi has heard the voice of his inner soul to connect with the emotion of the Nation.”
Three candidates were fighting for two Upper House seats from the state, necessitating a contest for the second seat. Every member required the support of at least 31 MLAs to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from the 90-member strong Haryana state assembly. After Independent candidate, Balraj Kundu abstained from voting, one vote of a Congress legislator got cancelled. While Krishan Lal Panwar from the ruling BJP party sailed through as expected with 36 votes, a tough fight ensued between Maken and Sharma. Sharma got 23 first preference votes and 6.6 transferred from the BJP, taking his tally to 29.6. Maken, who got 29 votes, lost as he had no second preference votes.
Earlier, Bishnoi has made his intentions clear, in a way, by choosing not to go with rest of the state Congress MLAs to the Raipur resort in the days leading up to the Rajya Sabha polls. Many senior Congress leaders like P Chidambaram and Maken, himself, had to woo the dissident leader ahead of the elections . The internal discontent in the state party unit came to the fore as Uday Bhan, a close Bhupinder Singh Hooda aide, was chosen ahead of Bishnoi as the state Congress president.