Patna, June 19 :
Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United Thursday won both the seats in the Rajya Sabha from the state in a by-election, thanks to cross-voting by its rebel legislators.
The Janata Dal-United candidates Pavan Verma and Ghulam Rasool Balyavi were elected despite the rebel legislators and with full backing of opposition Bharatiya Janata Party to the two Independent candidates – Sabir Ali and Anil Sharma.
Balyavi got 123 votes and Verma 122, while Ali got 107 votes and Sharma 108. A total of 230 of the 232 sitting legislators in the 243-member house cast their votes.
According to JD-U leaders, 18 to 20 of the party’s rebel legislators voted for Ali and Sharma.
The JD-U’s victory in the Rajya Sabha by-election is seen here as a big relief for top party leaders, including former chief minister Nitish Kumar.
“BJP with the help of rebel JD-U legislators was hell bent to ensure defeat of the party’s official candidates by encouraging cross-voting,” said JD-U leader Neeraj Kumar.
After JD-U candidates won the elections, hundreds of party workers celeberated by distributing sweets and by bursting firecrackers here.
Some JD-U workers also staged a protest against party rebel legislators Gayanu Singh and Poonam Devi.
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s announcement of his party’s support to the JD-U candidates was a turning point. He said his party supported the JD-U’s nominees to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party’s game plan.
It followed an appeal by Nitish Kumar, probably the first time in two decades when he publicly sought support from the RJD chief after the two parted ways in 1994.
The 243-seat house has a current strength of 233 members. The JD-U has 117 legislators and is supported by a Communist Party of India legislator, two Independents, four Congress members and 21 RJD legislators. The BJP has 84 members and enjoys the support of three Independent legislators.
The by-polls were necessitated by the election of Lok Janshakti (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan, BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy and former RJD general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav to the Lok Sabha.
JD-U president Sharad Yadav was last week declared elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha. Yadav had earlier lost the recent Lok Sabha election from Madhepura constituency in the state.