Noted lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Ram Jethmalani and Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma were on Thursday elected in the Rajya Sabha polls in Rajasthan, while a Congress-supported Independent candidate was defeated.
Congress-backed Independent candidate Santosh Bagrodia, a former Union minister who had been a member of the Rajya Sabha on behalf of the party, lost in the election by a huge margin as he got only 11 votes against 41 first preference votes required for victory.
Anand Sharma, whose term in Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh had expired a few months ago, was fielded from Rajasthan because his party in his home state was not able to return him from there.
Sharma and the other Congress party candidate Ashk Ali Tak got 51 first preference votes each.
Contary to speculation that he could face trouble from BJP MLAs who said to have been opposed to his candidature, 87-year-old Jethmalani, who rejoined the party only to jump into the electoral fray, won the election on 41 first preference votes. The other BJP candidate V P Singh also got 41 votes.
The party, which has 79 MLAs, managed to get the backing of a lone Janata Dal-United MLA and two independents.
The results were announced by Returning Officer H R Kudi, who said there was no second preference votes cast by the MLAs.
Former Union minister Santosh Bagrodia, who was supported by the Congress as an Independent, was defeated in the closely-fought election.
In the 200-member Rajasthan assembly, Congress has 102 MLAs, BJP 79. Three Communist Party of India-Marxist MLAs abstained from voting. There are 13 independents. Two votes were rejected.