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'Horse-trading' behind RS defeat in Jharkhand: Ahluwalia

By Onkar Singh
May 07, 2012 17:42 IST
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After losing the Rajya Sabha election in Jharkhand by three votes, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader S S Ahluwalia hinted that horse-trading led to his defeat in this interview with's Onkar Singh.

Despite the Bharatiya Janata Party heading the ruling coalition in Jharkhand with the
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha you lost the Rajya Sabha elections...

The total strength of the JMM-BJP alliance is 45 in the 81-member House. We needed one more vote to secure two seats. Moreover, the two independents -- Chamra Linda and Bidesh Singh -- who support the BJP-JMM coalition government in Jharkhand voted for the Congress.

What role did (Union minister) Subodh Kant Sahay play?

Sahay met independent MLAs Enos Ekka and Harinarain Rai in jail on the eve of the polls. As far as I understand they refused to buy his arguments. But as the results indicate the Congress nominee (Pradeep Balmuchu) secured 25 seats, including the support of seven independent MLAs. 

Obviously, Sahay had not gone to have a cup of coffee with the MLAs. There is more to it than meets the eye. 

Are you suggesting horse-trading took place?

The facts speak for themselves. The JMM and the All Jharkhand Students Union voted for JMM candidate Sanjeev Kumar who bagged 23 votes.  

Pradeep Balmuchu got 13 votes of the Congress, five of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and seven independents to win the second seat. I got 18 votes of the BJP and two of the JD-U. Bidesh Singh and Chamera Linda who had supported the candidature of JMM candidate Sanjeev Kumar were allowed to vote for the Congress. Now, it is for you to judge whether this is a clear case of horse-trading or not.

Were you targetted by some leaders of the party because you were close to Sushma Swaraj?

I have maintained a good relationship with all the party leaders. Of course, I am close to her but that does not mean I do not get along with rest of the party leadership.

The combined strength of the BJP-JMM is 45. Why didn't you garner support to bag the seat?

I lost because I refused to compromise on my ethical values. Bidesh Singh and Linda's exit cost me the elections. I have a reputation to defend.

What next?

As the deputy leader of the party I used to research and prepare papers for senior leaders of the party. I will continue to do this work even now. Victory or defeat is part of the system. 


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