NEW DELHI: In Rajya Sabha, BJP has managed to narrow the gap with the Congress after winning 11 of the 27 contested seats in seven states. 30 candidates were elected unopposed to the Upper House in the remaining eight states.
In a contest watched most keenly, Congress’ Kapil Sibal secured a Rajya Sabha seat from Uttar Pradesh. Mr Sibal was counting on the help of Mayawati’s BSP after the BJP supported an independent candidate Preeti Mahapatra to turn it into a contest – 12 candidates for 11 seats. Of the rest of the seats, the Samajwadi Party won seven, the Bahujan Samaj Party won two, while the BJP took one. During the voting, some BJP lawmakers accused Samajwadi Party legislators of blocking the voting compartment. In Haryana, the BJP secured an unexpected win for independent candidate Subhash Chandra, who the party was supporting. But the results could spark controversy after votes of 14 Congress lawmakers were declared invalid. Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh secured the second seat. Six ministers seeking to return to the Rajya Sabha have secured wins. At the end of the elections for 57 seats, the BJP will increase its tally in the Upper House where it has had trouble with pushing legislation. In an effort to increase its numbers in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, the BJP supported some independent candidates to try and ensure that the Congress is not able to win any extra seats. In Karnataka, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Congress’ Jairam Ramesh, Oscar Fernandes and K C Ramamurthy won the four seats while BM Farooq of the Janata Dal-Secular bit the dust. In Rajasthan, all of the four seats went to the BJP candidates including Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and OP Mathur. In Madhya Pradesh, where three seats were up for grabs, BJP candidates MJ Akbar and Anil Dave scored wins while an independent Vivek Tankha with Congress’ support won the third. In Uttarakhand, the Congress’ Pradeep Tamta won the lone seat. Mayawati’s decision on who her party supports was seen as a decider not only in Uttarakhand, but also UP and Madhya Pradesh. The BJP will still not be the single largest party in the Upper House, but has narrowed the gap with the Congress. Members of a state’s legislative assembly vote in the Rajya Sabha elections in what is called the proportional representation with the single transferable vote (STV) system. Each voter ranks his preferences and if the first choice candidate has enough votes already or no chance of being elected, the vote is transferred to the second choice and so on.