After Celebration, Congress Says Ajay Maken Lost To BJP-Backed Media Baron

Haryana Rajya Sabha elections: The Election Commission started counting votes at 1 am on Saturday - eight hours late - after both parties approached it alleging violation of rules by MLAs in casting votes

Haryana Rajya Sabha elections: BJP won both the seats

Chandigarh:

The Congress had a short-lived victory celebration for its leader Ajay Maken, who the party tweeted has won the Rajya Sabha election in Haryana. However, the party deleted the tweet minutes later after a recount was called by the Election Commission.

Congress MLA BB Batra told reporters there was a miscommunication as earlier Mr Maken was said to have polled 30 votes; however, one vote was cancelled.

Mr Batra said media baron Kartikeya Sharma, who contested as an independent backed by the BJP and its ally Jannayak Janata Party, won in place of Mr Maken.

The BJP's Krishan Lal Panwar won the second seat in Haryana.

Mr Panwar polled 31 votes, Mr Sharma 28 and Mr Maken 29. However, some math has gone into declaring the media baron a winner.

Out of 90 MLAs, one independent abstained and one vote was rejected, leaving 88 votes valid. This means each candidate needed 29.34 votes to win. Mr Panwar's 1.66 votes went to the BJP-backed Mr Sharma i.e. 31 - 29.34. The media baron was also Mr Panwar's second preference candidate.

So, Mr Sharma won with 29.66 votes i.e. 28 + 1.66.

Mr Maken remained at 29.

"My heartiest congratulations to the newly elected Rajya Sabha MPs from Haryana, Krishan Lal Panwar and Kartikeya Sharma. The success of the candidates is a victory of democracy. My best wishes to them for their new responsibilities in the development of our great nation," Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal posted on Koo.

The Election Commission started counting votes at 1 am on Saturday - eight hours late - after both parties approached it alleging violation of rules by MLAs in casting votes.

The counting was delayed by at least eight hours - what should have started at 5 pm on Friday dragged on till 3.10 am today - after Mr Panwar and Mr Sharma wrote to the Election Commission, alleging Congress MLAs Kiran Choudhary and BB Batra showed their ballot papers to unauthorised people after marking them and it was "duly captured" on cameras.

The Congress also approached the Election Commission accusing the BJP of trying to defeat the process of free and fair election and demanded immediate declaration of results.

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