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Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha polls: EC sided with BJP as it got our one vote invalidated, says Sanjay Raut

MUMBAI: After Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Pawar lost the Rajya Sabha polls from Maharashtra to BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik, party leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday alleged that the BJP put pressure on the Election Commission to get his party’s one vote disqualified.

Talking to reporters, Raut, who himself managed to win a seat, said the BJP’s victory was not as huge as it was being made out to be, and added that the Sena’s second candidate secured more first preference votes.

“I don’t think the BJP’s candidate has won. The first preference votes of 33 were secured by Pawar,” Raut said, adding that BJP’s Mahadik bagged 27 votes as first preference.

“He won on the basis of the second preference vote,” Raut said.

The bitter contest that went to the wire saw three candidates of the BJP – Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Mahadik – winning the polls. The Sena (Raut), NCP (Praful Patel) and Congress (Imran Pratapgarhi) won one seat each.

Of the 284 valid votes, Goyal polled 48, Bonde 48, Mahadik 41.56, Raut 41, Pratapgarhi 44 and Patel 43.

Both BJP and the Shiv Sena approached the Election Commission, alleging breach of election rules and seeking disqualification of votes.

The poll panel directed the Rajya Sabha election returning officer of Maharashtra to reject the vote cast by Shiv Sena legislator Suhas Kande, after which the counting of votes got underway after 1 am.

“By putting pressure on the Election Commission in Delhi, our one vote (of MLA Kande) was disqualified. We had petitioned to make their votes invalid, but the Election Commission sided with them. What has happened in Maharashtra, Haryana and Rajasthan raises question marks on the (functioning of) Election Commission,” he said.

Raut said the top party leaders made a detailed plan for the Rajya Sabha polls to ensure a victory for Pawar, but some MLAs did not vote for them. He did not elaborate which MLAs did not vote for the BJP.

Raut said top leaders of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) had also worked hard to ensure victory for Sanjay Pawar.

“Rajya Sabha polls are a complex and rigid process and they take first preference and second preference votes. They won on the basis of the second preference vote, so best wishes to them,” he said.

Raut asserted that all the candidates fielded by the Sena will win the Legislative Council polls scheduled on June 20.

Source: Press Trust of India

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