Congress wins council seat despite cross-voting

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Mumbai, Oct 23 (UNI) Congress candidate Madhu Jain today won the bypoll to the Maharashtra legislative council seat by a slender margin of six votes, despite cross voting by 28 members of the Congress-NCP camp.

Congress-NCP-JSP are in the ruling DF government and have an effective strength of 150. At least 11 of the 19 independents also supported the government. On the other hand, Sena-BJP's total strength is 110.

Ms Jain, sister-in-law of NCP heavyweight Suresh Jain, polled 144 votes, while independent candidate Suresh Havare, who was supported by Shiv Sena-BJP, secured 138 votes.

This clearly indicates that Havare, a builder, has succeeded in securing atleast 28 votes from the Congress-NCP camp, who could not maintain their flock together.

The state legislative Assembly has an effective strength of 289, including one nominated member. However, 286 legislators exercised their franchise with three CPI(M) MLA's boycotting the poll. Four votes were cancelled.

The election was neccessitated after sitting BJP MLC Navnath Avad, who is in coma, was disqualified from the House for not attending the proceedings.

Incidentally, Ms Jain was a last minute replacement for Subhod Mohite, the first choice of the Congress, who could not file his nomination due to travel delays.

Reacting to the victory, MPCC president Manikaro Thakare said ultimately victory is important and coalition is testing the same, when Assembly and Lok Sabha elections are round the corner.

''We will discuss about the cross voting at the party forum,'' he added.

State BJP president Nitin Gadkari said the alliance candidate fell short by mere six votes.

NCP followed the religion of coalition and voted for Congress candidate, said Mr Madan Bafna, NCP spokesman.

Meanwhile, a report from Jalgaon said Congress workers there rejoiced over the victory of Ms Jain, who hails from the district, by bursting crackers. They also expect that her win will strengthen the position of Congress in Jalgaon.


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