Rajya Sabha polls: Congress writes to CEC fearing horse trading bid

Congress has already lodged a plaint with the state’s ACB fearing large scale use of money and other corrupt practices. Now it has written to Chief Election Commissioner urging it to keep extra vigil

Indian National Congress flag
Indian National Congress flag

Prakash Bhandari

The battle for the Rajya Sabha poll in Rajasthan is getting intense with both the ruling Congress and the main Opposition BJP trading charges against each other for indulging in horse-trading. The Congress has already lodged a plaint with the state’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) fearing large scale use of money and adoption of other corrupt practices and requesting the ACB to keep a vigil on it. Now the party has gone a step further and petitioned the Chief Election Commissioner urging it to keep extra vigil due to the possibilities of horse-trading.

Public health engineering department minister and Chief whip Mahesh Joshi along with the deputy chief whip Mahendra Choudhry in the letter to the Chief Election Commissioner said that the BJP may be involved in horse-trading to seek votes of the MLAs with a view to make the Independent candidate Subhash Chandra win. The media baron Subhash Chandra is an Independent supported by the BJP.

Joshi and Choudhry handed over the letter addressed to the CEC to Praveen Gupta, the state electoral officer on Tuesday night.

The Congress move to address a complaint to the CEC came after the BJP approached the Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleging the use of black money prior to the Rajya Sabha election. Joshi said that the letter to the CEC has been sent through the state electoral commissioner to inform the likelihood of unethical practices likely to be adopted by the BJP in the Rajya Sabha election.

Joshi said that Subhash Chandra has filed a nomination as an Independent, but his proposer and seconders are all BJP MLAs and not a single Independent has neither proposed nor seconded him. Thus, he is all and out a BJP nominee and the BJP would do everything to make him win as their second candidate.

Joshi said that Congress has a total of 126 votes against the number of 123 votes required to win three out of the four seats. The BJP which has a strength of 71 in the Vidhan Sabha could win only one seat, but it has 30 additional votes and with these additional votes, the BJP is trying to indulge in horse-trading. The BJP MLAs are in a five-star hotel of the Pink City and are being trained for the Rajya Sabha poll.

The BJP wrote to the Enforcement Directorate suspecting misappropriation of black money. The party alleged that Congress was misusing power for the Rajya Sabha election.

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) led by Hanuman Beniwal, has extended its support to Subhash Chandra. Congress MLA Divya Maderna said that the Hanuman Beniwal-led RLP claims to be a party of the poor and the farmers, but is supporting the candidature of a rich industrialist.

Subhash Chandra claimed that eight Congress MLAs would vote for him as part of the cross-voting.

Subhash Chandra was also claiming that the two Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) MLAs would support him. But he suffered a rude jolt when the two BTP MLAs on Tuesday night met the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and extended him all the support for the Rajya Sabha election. They said they would vote for the Congress candidates only and no money power can lure them away from the Congress.

Former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot said that Subhash Chandra is contesting as an Independent. He is a media baron and he thought the election for the Upper House is like producing an entertainment serial. Pilot said that the Rajya Sabha election is a different ball game and the Congress is well placed to win three seats and there was no chance for Subhash Chandra. He said all the MLAs, who are supporting Congress are strongly behind the Congress and would not be lured by anybody.

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Published: 08 Jun 2022, 2:05 PM