Monday, November 29, 1999

Voting in Bihar for Rajya Sabha seats

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Patna, June 17 (IANS) Voting was under way Thursday in Bihar to elect five Rajya Sabha members amid fear of cross-voting because of the presence of an independent candidate.Both the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the opposition led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) are hopeful of winning three and two seats respectively.More than two dozen legislators voted in the first hour of polling that began at 9 a.m. The Bihar assembly has 243 legislators.In the contest are LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Janata Dal-United's (JD-U) R.C.P. Singh, a former Indian Administrative Service officer.The JD-U has also fielded Upendra Kushwaha while the RJD-LJP combine's second candidate is Ram Kirpal Yadav.The BJP and its ally JD-U are confident of winning three seats while the RJD and LJP hope to bag both seats they are contesting.But the presence of B.G. Uday, a Bangalore-based businessman, as the sixth candidate for the five Rajya Sabha seats has created fears of cross-voting.An independent legislator, Dadan Pahalwan, who faces several criminal cases, and five other legislators, including independents, proposed Uday's nomination.The RJD-LJP have 68 legislators against the requirement of 76 to ensure victory of both its nominees.The Congress, with 10 legislators, has decided to abstain from voting. The JD-U and BJP have 135 legislators. It has 21 surplus votes, over the 114 required to ensure the victory of its three nominees.

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