BJP won 12 of the remaining 25 seats at stake in crucial Rajya Sabha biennial polls in seven states today amid high drama in Uttar Pradesh where it clinched an extra ninth seat overcoming the newfound bonhomie between former arch rivals SP and BSP.
For the 59 Rajya Sabha seats to be filled, 33 candidates from 10 states were declared elected unopposed on March 15 with the BJP accounting for 16 of them.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP leader GVL Narsimha Rao, SP’s Jaya Bachchan (all from Uttar Pradesh), Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was backed by ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, and BJP’s Rajeev Chandrasekhar (from Karnataka) were among the prominent winners.
Backed by ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, M P Veerendra Kumar, the President of the Kerala unit of Janata Dal (U) Sharad Yadav faction, was elected from Kerala defeating his Congress rival, in a bypoll after he resigned from Rajya Sabha as a mark of protest following JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar joining hands with BJP-led NDA.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the winners in the Rajya Sabha polls. “Congratulations to all those elected to the Rajya Sabha from various states and best wishes for their parliamentary career. I hope they effectively voice the aspirations of the states they will represent,” he tweeted.
There was a two-hour delay in the counting of votes in UP as the opposition Samajwadi Party and BSP lodged a complaint with the Election Commission.
Besides BJP’s prominent winner Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, others who made it to the Upper House of Parliament from the party are Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav, GVL Narasimha Rao and ninth candidate Anil Kumar Agarwal, who pulled off a surpise win with the help of second preference votes.
The remaining seat went to the Samajwadi Party (Jaya Bachchan) in the polls marred by cross-voting from both the sides, which led to the defeat of BSP candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar in the prestigeous battle of ballots, touted as a test for the new found bonhomie between the parties headed by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.
The Rajya Sabha results came days after the BJP lost Lok Sabha bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur to a joint force of the SP and the BSP.
The BJP’s Sameer Uranv and the Congress’s Dheeraj Sahu won the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand, Returning Officer Vinay Singh said.
In West Bengal, Singhvi and four Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidates — Nadimul Haque, Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santunu Sen — won the Rajya Sabha election.
The TMC supported Singhvi in the Rajya Sabha poll who contested as the fifth candidate as the Congress did not have the strength in the Assembly to get its candidate elected.
Singhvi secured 47 votes, he said.
Nadimul Haque secured 52 votes, Subhasish Chakraborty got 54 votes, Abir Biswas bagged 52 and Santunu Sen secured 51 votes, Koley said.
Left Front-backed CPI(M) candidate Rabin Deb lost the poll. He had contested for the fifth seat bagged only 30 votes.
The ruling Congress in Karnataka bagged three Rajya Sabha seats and the BJP one in the biennial election, amid a boycott of the poll by the JDS, alleging electoral malpractice. Congress’s L Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and G C Chandrasekhar, and BJP’s Rajeev Chandrashekar were declared elected after a complaint by the JDS to the Election Commission caused delay in taking up counting of votes. With its strength in the Assembly, the Congress was sure of winning two seats and eyed the third seat and won it with the support of JDS rebels and independents. The fight was for the third seat between the third candidate of the Congress’ Chandrasekhar and JDS’ B M Farooq, with the ruling party pulling off a bonus victory. Businessman Rajeev Chandrasekhar secured 50 votes, six more than required, with the support from smaller parties and independents.
Congress’s Chandrasekhar received 46 votes, Hanumanthaiah 44 and Hussain 42.
In Telangana, TRS candidates B Prakash, B Lingaiah Yadav and J Santosh Kumar were elected to the Rajya Sabha. The nominee of the main opposition Congress, P Balaram, lost the election. Prakash, Yadav and Santosh Kumar got 33, 32 and 32 votes respectively. Balaram obtained 10 votes, official sources said tonight. BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey won the lone Rajya Sabha seat for which polling was held in Chhattisgarh, defeating Congress rival Lekhram Sahu.
Pandey polled 51 votes, while Sahu secured 36 votes in the election held at the state assembly complex, wherein 87 of the 90 state legislators cast their votes, state Assembly secretary Chandra Shekhar Gangrade, who is also the returning officer, told PTI.
The House currently has 49 BJP MLAs, 39 Congress legislators, one BSP member and an independent legislator.
Pandey seems to have got all 49 votes of her party MLAs and apparently two more votes from BSP and independent legislators.
Sahu bagged 36 votes as the three Congress legislators – Amit Jogi, Shiyaram Kaushik and Rajendra Rai – who are facing disciplinary action for anti-party activities, boycotted the polls and did not vote.
While Jogi was expelled from the Congress in 2016, Kaushik and Rai were suspended from the party last year.moneycontrol