BJP wins 12 of 25 seats in Rajya Sabha

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BJP-symbol1The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strengthened its position as the largest party in the Rajya Sabha, winning 28 of the 59 seats. However, a majority still eludes National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Upper House.

The party won 12 of the 25 seats that saw voting on March 23 — nine from Uttar Pradesh and one each from Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Karnataka.

Sixteen other party leaders were among the 33 who were declared elected unopposed on March 15, the last day of withdrawal of nomination of candidates.

The whole episode happened on Friday amid high drama in Uttar Pradesh where the saffron party won 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, media reports said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP leader GVL Narsimha Rao, SPs 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, the reports pointed out.

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, reported PTI.

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 in the prestigious 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.

In West Bengal, Singhvi and four Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidates — Nadimul Haque, Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santunu Sen — won the Rajya Sabha election, according to media reports. Left Front-backed CPI(M) candidate Rabin Deb lost the poll. He had contested for the fifth seat bagged only 30 votes.

The BJP’s Sameer Uranv and the Congress’s Dheeraj Sahu won the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand.

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. Congresss L Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and G C Chandrasekhar, and BJPs Rajeev Chandrashekar were declared elected after a complaint by the JDS to the Election Commission caused delay in taking up counting of votes.

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, reported PTI.

While Jogi was expelled from the Congress in 2016, Kaushik and Rai were suspended from the party last year. However, Jogi, Kaushik and Rai are still considered Congress members in the state assembly, media reports said.