RS Polls: All three Congress nominees and one from BJP win
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RS Polls: All three Congress nominees and one from BJP win

Bengaluru: Congress candidates G.C. Chandrashekar, L. Hanumanthaiah and Syed Nasir Hussain and BJP nominee Rajeev Chandrashekar were elected to the Rajya Sabha (RS) on Monday amid high drama and unprecedented poll boycott by JD(S), citing violation of electoral rules.

A candidate required around 38 votes to win the elections. Members of the Legislative Assembly form the electoral college for the RS polls. Of the 217 eligible voters, as many as 188 members voted with four votes found invalid.

The result sprang a few surprises as the maximum number of votes (50) were polled by BJP nominee Rajeev, that exceeded the strength of BJP members in the Assembly.

Rajeev was followed by Congress’ G.C. Chandrashekar (46), Hanumanthaiah (44) and Nasir Hussain (42), JD(S) candidate B.M. Farooq got the votes of just 2 party MLAs who had exercised their franchise before the JD(S) leadership decided to boycott the election.

Though the poll was expected to be a cake walk for Congress and BJP candidates, there was high drama since 11 am after JD(S) leader H.D. Revanna alleged irregularities in voting.

The controversy was triggered when Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa and MLA Babu Rao Chinchansur erroneously marked the ballot paper with tick marks, rather than using preferential numbering to choose the candidates, as mandated by the Election Commission of                                  India (ECI).

However, JD(S) leader H.D. Revanna, who was the polling agent for his party, objected to the same alleging that providing two ballot papers violated election regulations.

Soon, other JD(S) MLAs led by its State President and former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy staged a dharna inside the polling booth accusing ECI officials of working as agents of the Government. JD(S) candidate B.M. Farooq submitted two memorandums to the ECI demanding countermanding of the election. The JD(S) accused Legisaltive Assembly Secretary S. Murthy, who is the Returning Officer (RO), of gross violation of electoral rules.

Though the polling ended at 4 pm, there was a delay of more than three hours before the counting of votes began as following the JD(S) complaint, the ECI officials awaited instructions from Delhi. As soon as the response was received directing the officials to segregate the vtoes of Thimmappa and Chinchansur, the counting began at around 7.15 pm.

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Though 188 votes were cast only 184 votes were counted in the final tally as two were invalidated and two were set aside. All the four votes were of Thimmappa and Chinchansur.

The number of eligible voters, however, was 217, of which 30 were JD(S) Legislators — excluding the seven rebels.

Of the 30, only two had cast their votes. Among Congress members, Belur MLA Y.N. Rudresh Gowda could not cast his vote due to ill health.

March 24, 2018

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