NEW DELHI: Voting for the three RS seats from Madhya Pradesh in which two BJP candidates senior journalist MJ Akbar and Anil Dave and Congress nominee Vivek Tankha are in the fray, began today with MLA Ramniwas Rawat casting the first ballot at the State legislative assembly here.
After Rawat who is the Congress chief whip in the State Assembly, BJP MLA Girish Gautam cast his vote. In the polling, 228 members of the House are expected to take part. The election that began here at 9 AM will end at 4 PM after which the counting of votes is scheduled to begin at 5 PM, RS returning officer in MP Bhagwandev Israni told PTI.
Besides the three official candidates, a BJP leader Vinod Gotia openly backed by the saffron party too, as an Independent candidate is in the poll ring. He has thrown his hat in the election arena as part of the BJP's bid to increase its tally in RS where it is in a minority and to defeat Tankha, who right now looks comfortable to sail through to the Upper House with the support of BSP's four MLAs.
Each candidate need 58 votes to go to the Upper House of Parliament. BJP official candidates Akbar and Dave are set to win elections as the saffron party has 164 votes in its kitty now following the death one of its MLAs Rajendra Dadu in a road accident on June 9. The apex court has restrained BJP law maker Rajendra Meshram to vote following a petition.
But Gotia's future looks bleak as even if the 48 surplus votes of BJP goes to Gotia, he won't scrape through given he needs 10 more ballots to reach the magic number.
On the other hand, Congress was having 57 members in the 230 member House. It is short of just one vote. But BSP chief Mayawati has already issued a whip to its four MLAs to salvage Tankha.
Meanwhile, all eyes are set on the three Independent MLAs in MP. They have not yet opened their cards regarding which way they will go.