Two ruling NDA candidates -- BJP's Pabitra Margherita and UPPL's Rwngra Narzary û were elected to Rajya Sabha from Assam, while Congress nominee and outgoing MP Ripun Bora lost due to cross-voting by opposition members, an official said on Friday.
Margherita, whose victory was assured, polled 46 votes, while Narzary secured 44 votes and Bora 35. All the 126 MLAs of the Assam assembly cast their votes and one vote was found to be invalid.
In the assembly, the ruling NDA has 79 seats, with 63 of BJP, nine of AGP and seven of UPPL. The combined strength of the opposition parties in the House is 47, with 27 of the Congress, 15 of AIUDF, three of BPF and one of CPI (M), while there is an Independent candidate.
Two Congress MLAs -- Sashi Kanta Das and Sherman Ali Ahmed -- were suspended from the party and the former had earlier announced that he would vote for the NDA candidates, while the BPF has already lent its support to the state government but is yet to formally enter into a political alliance.
The opposition parties had earlier announced that they would unanimously support the Congress candidate but Bora polling 35 votes indicate that there was cross-voting by seven opposition MLAs.
The Congress had on Thursday suspended its Karimganj (South) MLA Siddeque Ahmed from the primary membership of the party with immediate effect for "deliberately disobeying three-line whip issued by party Chief Whip Wazed Ali Choudhury". The party said that Ahmed intentionally wrote one in word instead of numeral while casting his vote, leading to his vote being declared invalid.
The elections were held on Thursday and the counting of votes, scheduled to begin at 5 PM, was delayed following complaints by opposition Congress to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) against five MLAs, including three from the BJP and one each from the Congress and the BPF.
The counting of votes finally began at 10.30 PM and continued till late at night. All the contesting candidates and their agents were present during the counting of votes.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had urged the opposition parties barring the AIUDF to vote for the ruling alliance candidates, said that the winning candidates had got the "conscience votes" of the opposition.
"Assam has once again reposed its faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi by electing two NDA candidates. My compliments to the winners," he said.
Congress alleged that after betraying the opposition candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls, five MLAs of the AIUDF went to the chief minister's residence on Friday morning.
"The MLAs -- Sonai's Karimuddin Barbhuiya, Badarpur's Abdul Aziz, Chenga's Ashraful Hussain, Jania's Hafiz Rafikul Islam and Dhing's Aminul Islam -- were seen entering Sarma's residence at 6 AM and they came out from there around 8.30 AM," party spokesperson Manjit Mahanta told PTI.
The two Rajya Sabha seats were earlier held by Congress members Ripun Bora and Ranee Narah. Assam's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nitin Khade, who was the observer for the Rajya Sabha polls, thanked everyone for their cooperation in completing the election process.