Dhananjay Mahadik of the Bharatiya Janata Party won Rajya Sabha’s sixth seat in Maharashtra after a second round of vote counting which began in the early hours of June 11. Shiv Sena lawmaker Sanjay Pawar, who was contesting him for the seat, lost.
There were seven candidates vying for six Rajya Sabha seats with BJP union minister Piyush Goyal, former minister Anil Bonde and Mahadik, a former MP. The ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition has lined up MPs Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar (both from Shiv Sena), former Union Minister Praful Patel (NCP) and Imran Pratapgarhi (Congress).
Five winning candidates were declared in the first round of counting: Praful Patel, Sanjay Raut, Imran Pratapgarhi, Bonde and Goyal.
BJP’s Goyal and Bonde received 48 votes each while Congress’s Pratapgarhi won 44 votes. NCP’s Praful Patel won 43 votes and Sanjay Raut 41 votes.
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Vote counting was suspended on Friday after the BJP and MVA traded allegations about the conduct of some MPs from each side shortly after the 285 lawmakers voted to indicate their preferred candidate early Friday evening.
The ECI took note of objections raised by a delegation of BJP leaders and a letter signed by politicians from the three MVA constituents, the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP.
The electoral behavior of five lawmakers – Jitendra Awhad (Nationalist Congress Party), Yashomati Thakur (Indian National Congress), Suhas Kande (Shiv Sena) and Sudhir Mungantiwar of the BJP and Independent MP Ravi Rana – has been called into question.
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The counting of votes took several hours and did not begin until well after midnight. Eventually, the vote cast by Shiv Sena’s Suhas Kande was disqualified by the ECI, which reviewed video footage of the five voting MPs.
The MVA has 150 members (excluding two Nationalist Congress Party lawmakers Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, who are in jail on separate money laundering charges). He needed at least 14 more votes to win his fourth seat. The BJP has 106 MPs and needed 17 more votes to win its third seat.
Based on assembly strength, the BJP could easily win two seats, while the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress could win one each. The competition was launched for the sixth seat. For her, the votes of 29 MPs — 16 from small parties and 13 independents — were crucial.
After the second round of counting (which takes second preference votes into account), BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik received 41 votes while Sena’s Sanjay Pawar only received 39.
How did the numbers arrive?
Mahadik got 27 votes in the first round. The 14 excess votes of two BJP candidates who won (Goyal and Bonde; he was the second choice) were added to Mahadik’s tally, raising his count to 41, which was the bar required to win.
Pawar got 33 votes in the first round which he carried over to the second. His tally rose to 39 with the addition of the excess votes he got from the winning MVA candidates.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said four out of five independents voted for the BJP, resulting in their candidate’s defeat.
“Our winning streak has begun and will continue,” Opposition Leader Devendra Fadnavis said shortly after the results were announced. “I dedicate our victory to two MPs, Laxman Jagtap and Mukta Tilak who were sick and bedridden but still traveled by ambulance to vote for us,” he said.
Jagtap and Tilak are BJP lawmakers from Pune. Both came to vote in an ambulance, as both are sick. Tilak is admitted to a hospital in Bombay while Jagtap arrived by road from Pune.