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Congress, SP watch as MLAs help BJP win extra RS seats

February 27, 2024 23:23 IST

The Congress on Tuesday suffered a major upset in Himachal Pradesh at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Rajya Sabha elections which were marred by cross-voting in all the three states though it won three seats in Karnataka while the saffron party pocketed an extra seat in Uttar Pradesh.

IMAGE: BJP candidates Sudhanshu Trivedi, Amar Pal Maurya and others show the victory sign after winning the Rajya Sabha elections, Lucknow, February 27, 2024. Of the 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh, BJP won 8 and SP won 2. Photograph: ANI Photo

Polling was held for 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh, four in Karnataka and one seat in Himachal Pradesh.

On February 20, 41 candidates including BJP chief J P Nadda, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan were elected unopposed to the Upper House.


Himachal Pradesh saw cross voting that led to the victory of BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan over Congress's Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Mahajan was declared winner by draw of lots after both the candidates were tied, securing 34 votes each.

The result made it clear that six Congress MLAs and the three Independents voted in favour of the BJP. At present, the Congress has 40 MLAs, BJP 25 while three are independents in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly.

Singhvi said the BJP's move to field a candidate against a party which has 40 members compared to its 25 was a clear message that the saffron party wants to win by hook or crook and more by crook.

There was high drama in Uttar Pradesh where amid concerns over cross-voting, SP chief whip Manoj Pandey quit while polling was underway. As many as eight SP MLAs also did not attend a meeting called by the Yadav on Monday.

SP candidate and retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan lost to BJP's Sanjay Seth, an industrialist.

The other seven BJP candidates who won are: former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, general secretary of the party's Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind), party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former MLA Sadhna Singh, and former Agra mayor Naveen Jain.

SP's actor-MP Jaya Bachchan won another term while Dalit leader Ramji Lal Suman bagged the second seat for the party.

In Karnataka, five candidates were in the fray for the four seats, including D Kupendra Reddy JD-S. Those elected are Ajay Maken, G C Chandrasekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain (all Congress) and Narayansa K Bhandage of the BJP.

The election was marred by cross-voting as BJP MLA S T Somashekar voted for Maken, while another party legislator A Shivaram Hebbar abstained from voting.

Somashekar said he listened to the "voice of his conscience" and voted in favour of the Congress "which built schools and carried out developmental works in his constituency". Hebbar too abstained from voting adhering to his conscience, he said.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav warned that strict action will be taken against the MLAs who cross voted.

"Those who wanted to profit from the situation will go. Those who were given assurances (by the BJP) will go," he told reporters at the assembly premises before casting his vote.

"The BJP can adopt all tricks to win elections. It must have given assurance (to some MLAs) of some profit... BJP will do anything to win," he added.

BJP leader Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya claimed Yadav made a mistake by fielding his third candidate and he did not have the numbers.

On February 20, the BJP won 20 seats unopposed, followed by the Congress (6), Trinamool Congress (4), YSR Congress (3), RJD (2), BJD (2) and NCP, Shiv Sena, BRS and JD-U one each. 

Nadda and the party's other nominees Jasvantsinh Parmar, Mayank Nayak and diamond baron Govindbhai Dholakia were declared winners from Gujarat.

From Rajasthan, Sonia Gandhi was elected unopposed so were BJP's Chunnilal Garasiya and Madan Rathore.

All the six candidates from Maharashtra -- BJP's Chavan, who joined the party only last Tuesday after quitting the Congress, Medha Kulkarni and Ajit Gopchhade; Shiv Sena's Milind Deora, who also resigned from the Congress last month, Praful Patel (NCP) and Chandrakant Handore (Cong) were elected unopposed.

In Bihar, JD-U's Sanjay Kumar Jha, BJP's Dharmshila Gupta and Bhim Singh, Manoj Kumar Jha and Sanjay Yadav (both RJD) and Akhilesh Prasad Singh (Congress) were declared winners.

TMC's Sushmita Dev, Sagarika Ghose, Mamata Thakur and Md Nadimul Haque and Samik Bhattacharya (BJP) were declared winners from West Bengal.

Union minister Murugan, Valmiki Dham Ashram head Umesh Nath Maharaj, Kisan Morcha's national vice president Banshilal Gurjar, and Madhya Pradesh BJP's women wing president Maya Naroliya bagged four seats for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh while Ashok Singh of the Congress also got elected unopposed.

From Odisha, Union minister Vaishnaw (BJP) and BJD's Debashish Samantray and Subhashish Khuntia were declared winners.

The YSR Congress won all the three seats in Andhra Pradesh -- G Babu Rao, Y V Subba Reddy and M Raghunath Reddy while in neighbouring Telangana, the ruling Congress bagged two seats - Renuka Chowdhury and Anil Kumar Yadav -- and BRS one seat, that of V Ravichandra.

BJP nominees in Uttarakhand (Mahendra Bhatt), Subhash Barala (Haryana), Devendra Pratap Singh (Chhattisgarh) were elected unopposed. 

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