BJP's Ahluwalia Loses Jharkhand RS Polls to Cong

BJP's Ahluwalia Loses Jharkhand RS Polls to Cong
In a big embarrassment for BJP, senior leader S S Ahluwalia was today defeated in the Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand, with Congress helped by RJD and independents winning one seat and the JMM bagging another.

In the elections for two seats held afresh after they were countermanded following charges of horse-trading, Ahluwalia, BJP's outgoing deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, finished third with 20 votes -- 18 of its own and two from the JD(U).

Congress's Pradip Kumar Balmuchu, the party state president, won with the highest number of 25 votes, while JMM's Sanjeev Kumar secured 23 votes.

Balmuchu received 13 votes of his own party, five from the RJD and seven from independents, including two Chamra Linda and Bidesh Singh who supported the BJP-JMM coalition government, but voted for the Congress.

The JMM candidate received 18 of its own votes and five from the AJSU, a coalition partner of the government.

A total of 68 votes were polled in the 82-member house.

Eleven members of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantric) and the lone MLA of CPI(ML-Liberation) abstained from voting.

There is a nominated member and another seat is vacant.

The Election Commission had countermanded the Rajya Sabha elections in the state on March 30 after seizure of Rs 2.15 crore in cash from a car owned by the brother of independent candidate R K Agarwal amidst allegations of horse-trading.

BJP is heading the ruling coalition in Jharkhand in partnership with JMM although both parties have 18 MLAs each.

JMM had earlier asked BJP to withdraw its candidate in favour Sanjeev Kumar but the latter rejected the call.
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