As June 10 Rajya Sabha polls near, political temperatures are soaring in several states that could see close contests, with parties trying to keep their flock together and trading accusations of poaching of MLAs.
After more than two decades, Maharashtra will witness a contest in the Rajya Sabha polls as there are seven candidates in the fray for six seats.
The Shiv Sena has decided to shift its MLAs to a five-star hotel in south Mumbai to ward off overtures and the ruling MVA leaders were holding talks with smaller parties and Independents backing the tripartite dispensation. The BJP has asked its MLAs to come to Mumbai in the next two days.
“We were in ‘The Retreat’ (at Madh island in northwest Mumbai) and all our ministers too were present there. We will be moving to hotel ‘The Trident’ (in south Mumbai),” Sena MLA and party spokesperson Sunil Prabhu said. The Trident is a stone’s throw from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly where voting will take place.
In the 288-member House, smaller parties have 16 MLAs together while the number of Independents is 13. A total of seven candidates- BJP (3), Shiv Sena (2), NCP (1), and Congress (1)- are in the fray for the six RS seats.
In Rajasthan, the BJP wrote to the Enforcement Directorate and the Rajasthan chief electoral officer, expressing apprehensions about horse-trading and the use of black money in the Rajya Sabha polls.
The Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Gulab Chand Kataria, Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia, Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore and party whip Jogeshwar Garg accused the Congress of misusing government machinery to intimidate MLAs. Their reaction came as Rajasthan police serve a notice to BJP legislator Chandrakanta Meghwal in a five-year-old assault case.
Meghwal, who is camping in Jaipur with other MLAs of the party ahead of elections to the upper house, did not appear at the police station in Kota. After the notice, the opposition BJP accused Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot of hatching a conspiracy but an aide of the Congres leader dismissed the charge saying the case against Meghwal was registered when the BJP was in power.
The Congress had shifted its MLAs to Udaipur on June 2, saying it fears horse-trading by the BJP. Congress leader Mahesh Joshi gave a letter to the chief electoral officer demanding action against alleged horse-trading attempts.
The Karnataka Congress on Tuesday appealed to the ‘secular MLAs’ to cast their ‘conscience votes’ for their candidate Mansoor Ali Khan. Congress Karnataka unit chief D K Shivakumar said he and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah were making this appeal to everyone in the Karnataka Assembly.
Offering to trade second preference votes with the Congress, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy said his main agenda is to defeat the BJP. The former chief minister also claimed that even if JD(S) manages to get the 22 second preference votes from the Congress, it will be in a leading position.
Despite not having the adequate number of votes to win the fourth seat from the state Assembly, all the three political parties in the state — BJP, Congress and JD(S) — have fielded candidates for the seat, forcing an election. “My main agenda is that BJP should face a defeat, I’m ready for it. After Congress General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala called me, I calculated and have personally informed him that we (JDS) are ready to transfer our 32 second preference votes to Congress, but want their (Congress) 24 second preference votes in return,” Kumaraswamy said.
With inputs from News18, PTI