2 Ballots Invalidated After BJP, NCP Raise Objections

The returning officer for the Maharashtra Legislative Council elections on Monday night invalidated two votes – one each of the ruling ally NCP and the opposition BJP – after objections were raised by leaders of the respective parties, an official said. The objections and invalidation of votes led to the suspension of counting process by almost half an hour, he said.

The counting, originally scheduled to start at 5 pm, was delayed by over two hours after the Congress raised an objection to the votes cast by BJP MLAs Mukta Tilak and Laxman Jagtap. The ailing opposition legislators had cast their votes with the help of assistants, which was objected to by the Congress, a key constituent of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).However, the Election Commission of India (ECI) rejected the Congress objection and gave a go ahead to counting of votes.

Later, a BJP leader raised an objection to a ballot that had the first preference vote to NCP candidate Ramraje Nimbalkar. Similarly, an objection came from the NCP against a ballot paper having first preference vote to BJP nominee Uma Khapre, the official said.The returning officer at the Maharashtra Vidhan Bhavan in south Mumbai assessed the objections and declared both the ballot papers as invalid, he said.

With this, the total number of valid votes has come down to 283 (actual strength of the Assembly is 288, of which 285 MLAs were eligible to take part in polling as one seat is vacant, while two jailed members were barred from taking part in the process).Earlier, the quota of votes for a winning candidate was 25.91, which has now come down to 25.71.

Voting for the biennial elections to 10 vacant seats of the Upper House of the state legislature was held between 9 am and 4 pm at the Legislature Complex her in south Mumbai. In all, 11 candidates are in the fray – five of the BJP and two each of the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies, the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress. .

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