BJP, Cong, SP redraft strategy after bribe scandal

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Bhopal, Mar 27 (UNI) Main stakeholders BJP, Congress and Samajwadi Party were forced to redraft their strategy for tomorrow's Rajya Sabha election to fill up three seats from Madhya Pradesh after attempt to bribe SP MLA Kishor Samrite was exposed.

SP General Secretary Amar Singh is camping in the state capital in an apparent attempt to flock together all eight party MLAs though Mr Samrite had earlier declared that he would not abide by the party whip to vote in favour of Congress-supported independent candidate Vivek Tankha, a former Advocate General.

Three other candidates- Prabhat Jha, Maya Singh and Raghunandan Sharma- were fielded by ruling BJP, having total strength of 166 in the 231 member Vidhan Sabha. Three seats are vacant, while one is held by nominated Anglo-Indian community member.

BJP had sufficient votes in its kitty to elect two candidates, while it was marshalling outside support to ensure victory of its third candidate for which it was short of 8 votes.

On the other hand, Congress, having a strength of 41, is facing shortage of 17 votes to touch the magic figure of 58 in support of Mr Tankha.

Mr Samrite had turned the applecart with his disclosure that he was given Rs 10 lakh in cash in advance as part of the Rs 25 lakh offer from the Congress to vote in favour of Mr Tankha.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, assisted by his cabinet colleagues Dr G S Shejwar and Narottam Mishra, has taken over management of the Rajya Sabha poll, while MPCC President Suresh Pachouri is scheduled to address a meeting of Congress Legislature Party this evening.

SP leaders said it was the party decision to support Mr Tankha for which a whip was issued.

Political observers say the Congress strategy to capture third seat had been shattered following exposure of the bribe scandal.

The main stakeholders were making last minute attempt to win over legislators belonging to smaller parties, who were a force to be reckoned with in the crucials number game.

Votes of 8 MLAs of SP, Gondwana Ganatantra Party (3), Rashtriya Samanata Dal (2), Bahujan Samaj Party (2), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (1), Nationalist Congress Party (1) and Janata Dal (United) (1), besides two independents are considered crucial.

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