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BJP snatches Rajya Sabha seat from Congress in Goa

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-07-2017 PTI

Panaji: Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar on Friday won the sole Rajya Sabha seat, defeating his Congress counterpart and sitting MP Shantaram Naik.

Tendulkar polled 22 votes, while Naik bagged 16 in the election held at the state assembly complex on Friday in which all the 38 state legislators voted. The 40-member house has its current strength reduced to 38 due to resignations of two MLAs earlier. It presently has 16 Congress MLAs, 12 of the BJP, 3 each of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and independents and one of the NCP.

Naik was seeking a third consecutive term. While the tally of the BJP and its allies— the GFP, the MGP and three independents—in the house comes at 21, Tendulkar got one more vote, apparently of the lone NCP MLA Churchill Alemao. Alemao had also backed NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election held on 17 July. Naik was banking on the support of the like-minded parties.

All the Congress legislators voted for Naik, contrary to the cross-voting in the presidential poll in which at least three MLAs believed to have voted for Kovind. “We concede the defeat. Our candidate polled 16 votes against 22 scored by the rival candidate,” said Ravi Naik, the counting agent for the Congress nominee. “I am happy that my party legislators and alliance partners have supported me. I will work for the development of Goa,” Tendulkar told reporters.

He attributed his victory to the BJP and its alliance partners. “The circle is completed as the BJP now has representatives right from panchayat to the Rajya Sabha,” he said.

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