Lucknow, Mar 24: In a nail-biting finish, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to get all its nine candidates in the Rajya Sabha polls elected from Uttar Pradesh on Friday. The results came as a big setback for Mayawati whose Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) left no stone unturned to push its lone candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar to the finishing line but failed in the end.
Nine BJP candidates who were elected to the Upper House of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh are Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, national general secretary Anil Jain, spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao, Vijay Pal Tomar, Kanta Kardam, Ashok Bajpai, Harnath Yadav, Sakaldeep Rajbhar and Anil Agarwal. Samajwadi Party nominee Jaya Bachchan was re-elected for her straight fourth term.
The BJP was set to win eight out of ten Rajya Sabha seats due to its majority in the state Assembly. The saffron party, however, went further to snatch away the ninth seat from the clutches of the newly formed coalition of the SP and the BSP. BJP’s Anil Agarwal defeated Mayawati’s candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar in a cliffhanger of a contest that went to the wire.
While the BSP candidate got 33 votes — short by four — in the first preference votes against 22 of the BJP, the ruling party nominee was declared winner on the basis of second preference votes. The votes of SP MLA Nitin Agarwal and Anil Singh of the BSP, who cross voted in favour of the BJP, were declared invalid. Mayawati was heavily depending on the SP’s nine votes, Congress’s seven and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD)’s one vote.
BJP’s victory is being seen as a sweet revenge over the sudden coming together of the arch-rivals SP and BSP, which together defeated the saffron party in the recent Phulpur and Gorakhpur parliamentary bypolls. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath camped in the Vidhan Sabha building all through the day monitoring the voting and was reportedly working the wires to ensure that “all was going as planned”.
In all in the elections held for 25 seats on Friday, the BJP won 12, the Congress five, Trinamool Congress four, Telangana Rashtra Samiti three and the Samajwadi Party one.
Besides Uttar Pradesh, the other major battle was in the Congress-ruled Karnataka where the ruling party won three seats and one went to the BJP. While the Congress was sure of two seats on its own, it wrested the third in a fight with Janata Dal-Secular that complained irregularities. B.M. Farooq of the JD-S lost to G.C. Chandrasekhar of the Congress in the state. Others elected from Karnataka were I. Hanumanthaiah and Syed Naseer Hussain of the Congress and Rajeev Chandrashekar of the BJP.
West Bengal went on predicted lines as the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) bagged four seats and while Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi backed by the TMC defeated CPI-M’s Rabin Deb. The four TMC candidates are sitting Rajya Sabha member Nadimul Haque and first-time nominees Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santanu Sen. TMC’s Chakraborty secured the highest number of 54 votes. Haque and Biswas got 52 each and Sen 51. Singhvi garnered 47 votes. The votes of two TMC lawmakers – Jakir Hossain and Mrigendra Nath Maiti – were rejected.
Telangana’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) bagged all three Rajya Sabha seats. B. Prakash, J. Santosh Kumar and AB. Lingaiah Yadav were declared victorious while Congress candidate and former union minister P. Balram Naik was defeated. In Chattisgarh, BJP candidate Saroj Pandey defeated Congress’ Lekhram Sahu by a comfortable margin, getting also the votes two MLAs who cross voted in her favour. Pandey secured 51 votes while Sahu got only 36.
In the by-election held in Kerala, the Left Front-backed candidate M.P. Veerendra Kumar won by securing a huge margin against Congress candidate Babu Prasad. Kumar, who resigned from the Rajya Sabha after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar joined hands with the BJP, contested the seat after shifting from the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). The 80-year-old former Union Minister and newspaper baron secured 89 votes as against 40 that Babu Prasad got. In Jharkhand, Dheeraj Sahu of Congress and BJP’s Sameer Oraon won Rajya Sabha polls.
Out of a total of 58 Rajya Sabha seats to be filled, 33 candidates from 10 states were already declared elected unopposed on March 15. Of the 33, the BJP won 17. These included seven union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar.
The Congress had won four, the Biju Janata Dal three, the RJD, JD-U and TDP two each and the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the YSR Congress one each. In the elections held to 58 seats, the BJP won 29, the Congress nine, Trinamool four, TRS and BJD three each, JD-U, TDP and RJD two each and Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, NCP and YSR Congress one each. (With IANS inputs)