All 200 Rajasthan MLAs cast vote for 4 RS seats; one BJP MLA cross votes

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Ashok Gehlot with other Congress leaders in Rajasthan Assembly

Jaipur, Jun 10 (PTI) All 200 Rajasthan MLAs had cast their vote for the Rajya Sabha elections by Friday afternoon. The counting of votes for the four seats will start at 5 pm.

Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria admitted that one BJP MLA has cross-voted, which might make the victory of Independent candidate Subhash Chandra difficult.

"How can we win two seats when we had the votes to win just one seat? We lost nothing. As far as cross-voting by one MLA is concerned, the party will take action for violating the whip," he told reporters while leaving the assembly after polling.

BJP state president Satish Poonia said the party's high command has been informed about the cross-voting.

"This will be decided in the counting and we should wait for it. We have apprised the party high command and we will act according to the suggestions and directions of senior leaders," Poonia said.

Asked about the chances of Subhash Chandra's victory, he said, "We supported him on the basis of our surplus votes. He made his own efforts and we supported him. Lets wait for the counting." Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed confidence that the Congress would win three Rajya Sabha seats comfortably.

He said the BJP played a "game" of fielding Chandra as an independent candidate without majority. "Even BJP MLAs did not like him (Chandra)," he said.

BSP-turned-Congress MLAs, who had expressed resentment with the ruling party in Rajasthan, were among those who cast their votes as soon as the voting began for the Rajya Sabha elections for the four seats in the state on Friday morning.

The voting started at 9 am in the assembly building, a spokesperson said.

Chief Minister Gehlot reached the assembly shortly before 9 am and the first bus with the Congress MLAs also reached the assembly with Randeep Surjewala, one of the three candidates of the Congress.

BJP MLAs reached the assembly in two buses.

Congress and supporting MLAs were staying in a hotel on the Delhi Road while BJP MLAs were staying at another hotel on the Agra Road.

BSP-turned Congress MLAs including Rajendra Gudha, Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali also reached the assembly with the chief minister and exercised their franchise.

"I was second to cast vote after the chief minister," Gudha told reporters.

The Congress has fielded Surjewala, Mukul Wasnik and Pramod Tiwari while the BJP has fielded Ghanshyam Tiwari while the BJP has supported independent candidate Subhash Chandra.

Chandra has made the elections challenging for the ruling Congress.

BSP state president Bhagwan Singh Baba had issued a whip directing the six MLAs, who won the 2018 assembly elections as BSP candidates and merged with the Congress in 2019, to not vote for the candidates of the Congress and BJP.

However, the MLAs cast votes.

The six MLAs are Rajendra Gudha, Lakhan Meena, Deepchand Kheria, Sandeep Yadav, Joginder Awana and Wajib Ali.

Gudha, Ali, Bari MLA Giriraj Singh Malinga and a few other Congress MLAs had expressed resentment last week with the Congress government. However, they toned down after meeting the chief minister on Saturday night and left for Udaipur with the CM on Sunday to join other MLAs staying there.

Malinga, who was annoyed due to police case against him for allegedly thrashing engineers of electricity department in Dholpur, also said that the party candidates will win.

In the House of 200, the Congress has 108 MLAs, BJP 71, Independent 13, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) three, CPI(M) and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) two each.

Congress needs 123 votes to win three seats. The party claims it has the support of a total of 126 MLAs.One candidate needs 41 votes to win.