Samajwadi Party has suspended four of its party legislators for certain "anti-party" activities. Spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhary mentioned the names of the four legislators suspended today, for defying the orders of the party and acting against them. The suspension has been carried out by party leader Akhilesh Yadav. - NDTV

Amid apprehensions of cross-voting by members of all parties, 402 MLAs out of the total 404 (one nominated member) cast their votes for the elections to the Legislative Council at Vidhan Bhawan in Lucknow on Friday.

Returning Officer and Principal Secretary (Assembly) Pradeep Kumar Dubey said that polling began at 9 am  at the Tilak Hall of Vidhan Bhawan which continued till 4 pm and the counting of votes  began at 5 pm.

Reports of cross-voting created concern for both the SP and BSP the brass and all the legislators were called to respective party offices in the evening to chalk out a strategy for Saturday's Rajya Sabha polls.

The voting for Council election is through secret ballot while is through open vote for the Rajya Sabha.

Samajwadi Party legislator Waqar Ahmed Shah and Congress member Kunwar Kaushlendra alias Munna could not cast their votes due to medical reasons as both are hospitalised.

While Shah is in coma for the last couple of years, Munna has undergone a surgery in Mumbai recently. 

However despite being lodged in jail for the last several years, don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari took out time to cast his vote.

Senior SP leader and Minority Affairs minister Azam Khan was among the few legislators who cast his vote in the last leg of the polling raising speculation that he could abstain.

In his own inimitable style, Khan later said : “Khuda bhi naraj ho jate aagar mai vote nahi deta" (God too would have been annoyed with me if I had not voted).

With reports of cross-voting by ruling SP members, Khan said : “These members should have resigned from their respective parties and then voted for other parties. The party is confident about the victory of its seven candidates for the Council and the Rajya Sabha polls."

The state in charge of the SP and the PWD minister Shvipal Yadav said : "If evidence is found of legislators being involved in cross voting, then the party would move for their disqualification from the Assembly.’’

Rebel SP legislator of Sitapur, Rampal Yadav was too vocal to claim that at least 12 SP MLAs have cross-voted in the polling for the Council elections. "These SP MLAs were harassed by the present government as CM Akhilesh Yadav has become a 'dictator' even as Mulayam Singh is still popular among the leaders," said Rampal Yadav .

During voting, confusion prevailed with Rashtriya Lok Dal legislator Sudesh Sharma allegedly showing his ballot paper to an MLA. The RLD MLA had come to the polling booth along with the BJP MLA Suresh Rana, prompting the SP and the BSP to demand that his vote be declared invalid.

Countering the charge, BJP MLA Suresh Rana claimed that the BJP had not lured any legislator to vote for the party candidates but they did it on their own.

Two SP MLAs Guddu Pandit and his brother Mukesh Sharma claimed that they had voted against their party candidate. They said they had voted as per their conscience.

BSP MLA Rajesh Tripathi, who was recently suspended from the party, is also said to have voted against his party.

Peace Party president and MLA, Dr Ayub announced his support to the lone Congress candidate. He said that he has issued a whip and all four party legislators would vote for the Congress. He however admitted that there was cross-voting and his MLAs could vote for the Samajwadi party.

For the Council seats, the ruling SP fielded eight candidates with requirement of 232 votes and they were short of three votes for the eighth candidate. Similarly, the BSP with 80 members in teh Assembly required seven additional votes for its third candidate.

The BJP has a tough task cut out and had to get 17 additional votes for its second candidate in the Council as its strength is 41 in teh Assembly. The Congress with 29 members in the Assembly could ensure victory for its lone candidate.


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