Congress, BJP legislators cross vote in Karnataka legislative council poll

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Bangalore:  BJP and Congress suffered a major embarrassment in the Legislative Council poll on Monday with a significant number of their MLAs cross voting in secret ballot.

BS Suresh, a real estate businessman who contested as an Independent after being denied ticked by the Congress, bagged the highest number of 23 votes as elections to 11 council seats from Legislative Assembly was held on Monday, with results declared being in the evening.

The BJP won six seats, the Congress three and the JDS one, with Suresh being the other winning candidate.

The Congress had fielded Motamma, Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi and K Govindraj as the party, given its numerical strength in the lower house, was sure to win three seats.

It had also fielded MR Seetharam as the fourth candidate to take advantage of its surplus votes, and was  hoping to get support from independents as also some from other political parties. But things did not go according to the party's script.

In the end, Mr Motamma, Mr Govindraj and Mr Seetharam won, while Mr Saradagi, a two-time Lok Sabha member from Gulbarga, lost. Votes polled to Congress suggested that five of its members cross-voted, while one of its votes was invalid.

It emerged from the results that as many as 12 BJP MLAs had cross-voted but the party did not suffer damage in terms of numbers,  as it won the expected six seats after taking into account second preference votes. A candidate needed to get 19 first preference votes to get elected in the first round.

The BJP winners are: BJ Puttaswamy, Vimala Gowda, DS Veeraiah, Bhanu Prakash, Raghunath Rao Malkapure, and Somanna alias Swamilinga Bevinamarada, while JDS' Syed Mudeer Aga also won.

JDS had declared that it would transfer its surplus votes to Mr Suresh, while five independents also backed him. It was clear that Mr Suresh also received votes from either BJP or the Congress members or from both.

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