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Bihar: NDA wins 4 RS seats, loses 1 to Lalu
March 29, 2006 12:00 IST
Last Updated: March 30, 2006 00:06 IST
Bihar's ruling National Democratic Alliance suffered a setback on Wednesday despite all its four candidates winning the Rajya Sabha elections as the Lok Janshakti Party nominee backed by it was humbled in the polls, in which both Rashtriya Janata Dal candidates triumphed against all odds.
Those declared elected are: former union Information and Broadcasting minister and Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Ravishanker Prasad, who secured 36 votes, Mohd Ali Anwar (36), Mahendra Sahni (36) and Mahendra Prasad (37) (all Janata Dal-United), Bihar legislative council chairman Jabir Hussain (35) and Rajniti Prasad (37) (both RJD). Lok Jansakti Party candidate Ranjan Prasad Yadav secured 23 votes.
A total of 240 legislators in the House with an effective strength of 242 exercised their franchise with JD (U) legislator Shashi Kumar Rai keeping away on account of ill health and Manoranjan Singh Ali as Dhumal Singh in jail.
Rajniti Prasad, whom RJD had nominated as its second nominee after party's national spokesman Shivanand Tiwari refused to contest on the slot, sprang a surprise polling 37 votes, two more than its first candidate Hussain.
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad once again proved his vote-management skills as his party's candidates garnered 72 votes, seven more than the combined strength of his party and its allies Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and the Communist Party of India - Marxist, largely due to the votes of Independents and the three-member Bahujan Samaj Party.
The defeat of Ranjan Prasad Yadav, who secured 23 votes, five in excess of 18 he was assured of, caused embarrassment to the NDA. The NDA had pledged support to him with JD(U) state president Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lalan declaring a couple of days ahead of the poll that the ruling alliance will not only transfer its surplus votes to LJP candidate but also mobilise independents and smaller parties in his favour.
Before Lalan, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had hinted at NDA backing the LJP nominee in the poll and was seen closeted with Ranjan Prasad Yadav in the ante-room of his chamber at the state assembly.
The LJP has ten members in the House and its ally CPI has three. Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) - Liberation having five members had declared its support to the LJP candidate.
Apart from a few independents loyal to NDA, the LJP candidate secured the vote of Jalil Abdul, the lone member of Nationalist Congress Party, an UPA ally, and BSP legislator Amarendra Kumar Pandey who defied the party whip.
The BSP member's cross voting temporarily halted the counting process as leader of the party's legislature group Ramchandra Yadav lodged a protest with the assembly secretary and returning officer for the poll B K Singh Prabhat over the member not showing his stamped ballot to the RJD candidate's polling agent, as required under the law.
Sensing defeat of Ranjan, who was once a high-profile Rajya Sabha member and one of the key advisors of Lalu Prasad, Kumar left the assembly premises before the declaration of the results. Reacting to the defeat of Ranjan, Lalan, however, sought to downplay it saying, "The UPA was a divided house in today's RS poll. We definitely wanted Ranjan Yadav to win but not at the cost of our candidates."