Turncoat BSP MLAs cast their vote in RS polls in Rajasthan, voting underway for four seats

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (File photo)

Jaipur, Jun 10 (PTI) BSP-turned-Congress MLAs, who had expressed resentment with the ruling Congress government 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 and will continue till 4 pm and counting will start at 5 pm, an official spokesperson said.

The MLAs came to the assembly building with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and cast their votes.

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 while two more buses with Congress and other supporting MLAs will reach after some time.

Congress and supporting MLAs were staying in a hotel on Delhi road while BJP MLAs were staying at another hotel on Agra road. BSP-turned Congress MLAs including Rajendra Gudha, Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali also reached the assembly with the CM 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.

Speaking with reporters, Gehlot exuded confidence that all the three candidates of the Congerss will comfortably win.

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 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.

The 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.