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Haryana: Amid Allegations BJP's Panwar, Independent Candidate Win, Ajay Maken Loses

In RS polls, media baron Sharma got 23 first preference votes and 6.6 transferred from BJP, taking his tally to 29.6. It was a photo-finish as Maken got 29 votes.
Ajay Makan

Image: ANI

Chandigarh: In a jolt to the Congress, the BJP's Krishan Lal Panwar and the saffron party-backed Independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma were declared elected for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Haryana, after a high drama over allegations of violations of polling rules that delayed the counting by more than seven hours.

The counting of votes began past midnight and the results were announced after 2 am on Saturday.

According to Election Commission officials, Congress candidates Ajay Maken did not get enough votes. The party said one of its MLAs cross-voted while the vote of an MLA was declared invalid.

Returning Officer R K Nandal said Panwar got 36 votes, while Sharma got 23 first preference votes and 6.6 transferred from BJP, taking his tally to 29.6. It was a photo-finish as Maken got 29 votes, but lost on account of no second preference votes.

While the value of votes polled by the BJP was 3,600, securing the first seat for Panwar, Sharma won the second seat with a vote value of 2,960, including 660 that got transferred from the BJP candidate as second preference votes. The Congress’ value of votes was 2,900.

Congress MLA and the party's authorised polling agent BB Batra said while the vote of a party MLA was declared invalid, MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi cross-voted for Sharma, a media baron who had entered the poll far as an Independent candidate supported by the BJP and its ally JJP.

 Both the winning candidates were presented with their victory certificates around 3.30 am as Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar congratulated them.

The results are also a setback for former Congress chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as the party had recently replaced Kumari Selja as its state unit chief with his loyalist Udai Bhan.

The counting was put on hold after the BJP and Sharma wrote to the EC alleging violation of rules and demanded the votes of two Congress MLAs -- Kiran Choudhary and B B Batra -- be declared invalid as they had allegedly showed their ballot papers to unauthorised persons after marking them.

Election Commission sources in Delhi said the demand was rejected.

The Congress had also approached the Election Commission accusing the BJP of trying to defeat the process of free and fair election, and it demanded immediate declaration of results.

Eighty-nine of a total of 90 MLAs in Haryana had cast their votes while Independent MLA Balraj Kundu had abstained.

The BJP with 40 MLAs had nine more than the 31 first preference votes required for a straight win. The Congress has 31 MLAs.

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