Congress upbeat after Rajasthan HC junks BSP’s plea to withhold RS elections’ result

Rajasthan HC rejected BSP’s plea to stay declaration of Rajya Sabha polls’ result till disposal of its petition seeking disqualification of 7 MLAs elected on its symbol who later merged with Congress

Indian National Congress flag
Indian National Congress flag

Prakash Bhandari

Just a day before the crucial Rajya Sabha elections for electing four new members to the Upper House from the state, the ruling Congress party received a shot in the arm with the Rajasthan High Court rejecting a plea by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) seeking an interim stay on the declaration of its results.

The BSP had petitioned the court to give such a ruling keeping in view its writ petition seeking disqualification of six Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha members who were originally elected on its symbol but who later merged with the Congress.

A ruling by Speaker C P Joshi approved the merger of the BSP MLAs into the Congress, leading the BSP and one of its MLAs and former minister Madan Dilawar to challenge it.

The Rajasthan High Court, however, went on to uphold the Speaker’s decision, prompting the petitioners to move an appeal in the Supreme court where the matter is pending.

The BSP had filed a PIL in the Rajasthan High Court praying for a directive that the result of the Rajya Sabha election should not be declared till this petition in the Supreme Court was disposed off.

The HC’s vacation judges Justice Pankaj Bhandari and Justice Uma Shankar Vyas, while dismissing the application, observed: “In the present PIL filed by the petitioner, even notices have not been issued to the other side. It is also evident that during the pendency of the present PIL, elections to the Rajya Sabha were held and members were elected. The petitioner when the process of election started did not press for interim relief and we are not inclined to entertain the present application for the interim relief as the election process has already commenced and the elections are due on Friday.”

The advocate for the petitioners Hemant Nahta, after the rejection of the application by the Rajasthan High Court, filed a special leave petition before the Supreme court assailing the order of the High Court refusing to stay the declaration of the Rajya Sabha poll results till the disposal of the PIL pertaining to the disqualification of the six MLAs.

“This is a matter of grave urgency. It concerns the Rajya Sabha election. The plea is being drafted against the order of the Rajasthan High Court. Please list it,” he pleaded.

The SC’s vacation bench consisting of Justices MR Shah and Anirudha Bose, however, refused to list it and asked the advocate to speak to the registry.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot looked to be in a jubilant mood after the Rajasthan High Court’s order. He has been claiming that with the support of 126 MLAs, which includes Independent MLAs, the Congress was poised to win three seats in the Rajya Sabha election in which five candidates are in the fray for the four seats.

The Congress has fielded Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Surjewala and Pramod Tiwari, while the BJP has fielded veteran Ghanshyam Tiwari. Media baron Subhash Chandra, who has filed a nomination as an Independent candidate, is supported by the BJP.

The BJP could win one seat comfortably as it has 71 members in the House since it needs 41 votes to claim one seat. It has 30 excess votes for which it has supported the candidature of Subhash Chandra, whose tenure as a Rajya Sabha member from Haryana is expiring.

The Congress, with a claimed support of 126 MLAs, could win the third seat comfortably.

Incidentally, the Congress has lodged a complaint against the BJP with both the Election Commission and with the Anti-Corruption Bureau expressing apprehensions of ‘horse-trading’ when the elections are held.

The elections are due on Friday and the results would be declared on the same day.

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