Congress’ Hussain Dalwai wins Rajya Sabha by-poll


Mumbai : Hussain Dalwai of the Congress Friday won the by-election to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, trouncing the combined opposition candidate Bal Mane.

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Dalwai, formerly with the Samajwadi Party, secured 176 votes against Mane’s 104 votes of the 282 votes cast by legislators who form the electoral college.

Two votes were declared invalid, five legislators remained absent, and one seat is vacant following the death of a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) member last month.

With Dalwai’s election, a Muslim will enter the upper house from Maharashtra for the first time in over a decade, according to a senior Congress leader.

In the last Lok Sabha elections (2009), not a single candidate belonging to the Muslim community was elected to Lok Sabha from Maharashtra.

The by-poll was necessitated after Prithviraj Chavan resigned last November to take over as the Maharashtra chief minister.

Congratulating Dalwai on the victory, Chavan said Dalwai has always performed well as a state legislator and also as minister in the past.

“We are confident that he will continue in the same vein in the interests of Maharashtra even in the Rajya Sabha,” Chavan said.

Reacting to the outcome, Leader of Opposition, BJP’s Eknath Khadse said that a united opposition voting in favour of Mane was a major achievement for the opposition parties, coming on the eve of the monsoon session of the state legislature, starting here Monday.

In the house of 288, with a current strength of 287, the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine has 82 and 62 legislators respectively, the Bharatiya Janata Party 46, Shiv Sena 44, the MNS 12, Independents 24, and other smaller parties 17.