Maken loses to BJP-backed candidate in Haryana RS poll

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In an humiliation for Congress candidate Ajay Maken in Haryana, the state ruling BJP got its candidate and its supported candidate elected to both Rajya Sabha seats early Saturday after high drama that put the counting of ballots on hold for nearly eight hours.

BJP’s Krishan Lal Panwar and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP)-backed Independent candidate, Kartikeya Shama, who got the BJP support, were declared elected.

While Panwar polled 31 votes, media baron Sharma 28 and Maken 29.

One Congress vote was declared invalid, while its MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi had cross-voted for Sharma.

Congress Chief Whip B.B. Batra said that one Congress vote had a tick in place of ‘I’, making it invalid.

Responding to victory of the candidates, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar tweeted, “My heartiest congratulations to the newly elected Rajya Sabha MPs from Haryana, Krishan Lal Panwar and Kartikeya Sharma.

“The success of the candidates is a victory of democracy. My best wishes to them for their new responsibilities in the development of our great nation.”

The Election Commission started counting votes at 1 a.m. on Saturday, eight hours behind the schedule, after both parties alleged violation of rules while casting votes.

In the 90-member Legislative Assembly, 89 MLAs cast their votes.

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