230 MLAs cast votes in RS by-poll in Bihar

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Patna, June 19: All 232 MLAs, Barring two, today cast votes in the by-poll to fill up two Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar amidst reports of cross-voting by members of prominent political parties.

"A total of 230 MLAs have cast votes in the RS bypoll which ended at 4 pm," Secretary, Legislative Assembly, Hareram Mukhiya told PTI. The two MLAs who did not vote included BJP's Rameshwar Chaurasia who has gone to the US and RJD's Kedar Singh, absconding in a criminal case.

The effective strength of Bihar Assembly at present is 232 following 11 vacancies. Counting will start at 5 pm and results are expected two hours after that, Mukhiya said.

Though pattern of voting by members of different political parties would be known only after the result is out, there has been reports of MLAs of prominent parties including JD(U), RJD and Congress cross voting in violation of party lines.

On the directions of the Election Commission, no parties issued whip in the bypoll for the two RS seats in Bihar. JD(U) dissidents group leader Gyanendra Singh Gyanu told reporters after the voting that 22 party MLAs have voted against official candidates.

JD(U) has fielded diplomat-politician Pawan Varma and Gulam Rasool Balyawi for the two seats. They are challenged by real estate baron Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali. Both have entered into fray as Independents backed by rebels and BJP. Gyanu claimed before reporters that minister Sahid Ali Khan has voted for Anil Sharma but not for another Independent Sabir Ali.

Sources in RJD and Congress indicated two MLAs each of them voted against party lines. While from RJD names of Anirugh Yadav and Durga Prasad are doing the rounds for cross-voting from Congress camp they were Asfaq Alam and Tauseef Alam.

There was no report of any BJP MLA voting against party decision. 116 JD(U) MLAs cast votes. Speaker Udai Narayan Chaudhary did not vote. In the 232-member Bihar Assembly at present, JD(U) has 117 members including Speaker, BJP 84, RJD 21, Congress 4, Independents 5 and CPI 1.


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