Assam's opposition parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party, Asom Gana Parishad and All India United Democratic Front accused the ruling Congress of murdering democracy and resorting to horse trading even as Congress won the election to two of the Rajya Sabha seats from Assam after four of the BJP MLAs and two AIUDF MLAs decided to vote for Congress candidate defying a party whip to vote for Opposition's common candidate Jayanta Baruah, a Guwahati-based media baron.
Congress candidates Nazneen Faruque and Silvius Condpan won the poll by securing 43 and 42 votes respectively while Baruah won only 40 votes. One vote was found invalid. The AGP had earlier suspended one of its MLAs, Abdul Aziz after he had announced that he would not abide by party whip to vote for Baruah. Aziz voted for Condpan.
The BJP called it 'murder of democracy' and requested the returning officer and the Election Commission observer not to count the votes of those four BJP MLAs.
An incensed BJP national general secretary and chief spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad stated, "I don't have the slightest hesitation to say that a state (Assam) which has elected Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to the Rajya Sabha, there democracy has been murdered by Congress party, its leaders, chief minister and ministers."
"Dr Manmohan Singh, you always speak about the need for good governance now a days. What is your reply to murder of democracy in your state which you have represented in Rajya Sabha for last 18 years," the BJP leader asked.
He announced that the four BJP MLAs had been suspended from the party and the speaker of Assam assembly would be moved on Saturday for their disqualification under the anti-defection law.
Four BJP MLAs are Dr Rumi Nath, Abhijit Hazarika, Sambhu Singh Mallah and Kartik Sena Sinha. They said they were not consulted by the party leadership before agreeing to support Baruah. "Obviously, our conscience did not allow us to vote for a candidate who is also supported by our arch rival AIUDF and the Left parties. So, we decided to vote for tribal leader Condpan," the BJP MLAS said.
The Congress had support of total 75 MLAs in the 126-member house including 57 MLAs of its own, 11 MLAs from its ally Bodo People's Front and eight independent MLAs.
Among the opposition parties AGP has 24 MLAs, BJP has 10, AIUDF has nine, the Left parties have three MLAs. The opposition candidate is supported by one Independent MLAs also. The lone MLA from Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC), Jagat Singh Ingti reneged on his promise to vote for the opposition candidate in the eleventh hour.
Meanwhile, chief minister Tarun Gogoi said Congress victory in RS poll was recognition of the Congress government's efforts for all round development of the state. He said some MLAS from opposition parties had openly voted for Congress as they did not like the opposition's common candidate.