RAIPUR: As predicted, BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey won the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Chhattisgarh on Friday.The only Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member in the House Keshav Chandra along with the lone Independent candidate Vimal Chopda voted in favour of the BJP candidate.
The ruling BJP has 49 MLAs and secured 51 votes, thereby defeating the Congress candidate by a margin of 15 votes. The Congress, which played the OBC card, had fielded Lekhram Sahu.Amit Jogi, who was expelled from the Congress in 2016 and later joined the Chhattisgarh Janta Congress (J), floated by his father and ex-CM Ajit Jogi, had initially pledged support for the Congress candidate. But on Friday, he boycotted the poll.
Two Congress MLAs who openly declared their allegiance to Jogi’s outfit and were later suspended, also decided to abstain from voting due to some issues with the AICC general secretary and state in-charge P L Punia. “Unless Punia apologised for his remarks against me, we will not support the Congress party,” Amit Jogi had said.
“Both MLAs will soon be expelled from the Congress. The remaining 36 Congress MLAs have voted for Sahu,” a senior Congress leader told Express.The support of the BSP for the BJP candidate might come as a jolt for the Congress as its state president Bhupesh Baghel had recently expressed willingness to explore possibility of forging an alliance with the BSP on some seats during the upcoming Assembly polls.