Covid-19 positive Cong MLA in PPE suit votes in RS polls in Madhya Pradesh

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Voting for three vacant Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh concluded on Friday afternoon after all the 206 MLAs, including a Congress legislator who has tested Covid-19 positive, cast their votes.

Voting began at 9 am in the state assembly complex here and ended around 1.15 pm, an assembly official said.

The Congress legislator, who is a Covid-19 patient, was the last one to cast his ballot wearing a PPE suit. He came to the assembly complex in an ambulance, the official said.

Both the parties- the BJP and the Congress- had fielded two candidates each for the three seats of the Upper House of Parliament.

While the BJP fielded senior leader and former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and former professor of a government college, Sumer Singh Solanki, from the Congress’s side, veteran politician Digvijaya Singh and Dalit leader Phool Singh Baraiya were in the fray.

BJP members, including state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, cast their votes in the morning.

Former chief minister Kamal Nath and other Congress leaders also cast their ballots soon after the process began.

Chouhan was the first member to cast vote, followed by the Home Minister Narottam Mishra.

The members were seen wearing masks and standing in a queue maintaining social distance in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

For winning a seat in the Rajya Sabha polls from MP, a candidate needs 52 votes. As per the numerical strength of the two parties, BJP is set to win two seats as it has 107 MLAs of its own and has the support of two MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), one MLA of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and two Independents, party sources said.

The saffron party has the support of 112 in the 230 member Assembly whose effective strength is 206. Scindia and Solanki, thus, can get the 52 votes each needed for victory.

Leaders of the BSP and the SP said they voted in favour of the BJP.

Talking to reporters after the polls, SP’s Rajesh Shukla said, “It is our compulsion to go with the government.

I have voted for the BJP on my own for the development of the area. There was no directive from the party leadership on the issue.” BSP’s Sanjeev Kushwaha said, “The Congress government collapsed not because of us, but due to its internal differences. There was no directive from the party for us.

Therefore, we voted for the BJP on our own for the development of our region. The BSP will contest the upcoming by-polls on all the seats.” In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly, 24 seats are currently vacant.

Congress has been left with 92 MLAs after 22 of its legislators, including six who were ministers then, quit the party in support of Scindia’s move to join the BJP.

Thus, Congress is set to win a single seat out of the total three for which polls are being held, sources added.

The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) had asked 54 of its 92 MLAs to cast their first preference vote for Digvijaya Singh. The former chief minister needs 52 votes to get elected to Rajya Sabha for the second consecutive term.

Baraiya, placed after Singh in the pecking order by his party, does not have the numbers on his side to win.

The counting of votes will begin at 5 pm. PTI MAS NP NP

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