The ruling Congress won three of the four Rajya Sabha seats in Rajasthan on Friday. The Bharatiya Janata Party grabbed the last seat.
In Karnataka, the BJP won all the three Rajya Sabha seats it had contested, while one went to the Congress.
The Congress candidates who won in Rajasthan are Randeep Singh Surjewala, Mukul Wasnik and Pramod Tiwari, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said in a tweet. Former minister Ghanshyam Tiwari secured one seat for the BJP in the state, but media baron Subhash Chandra, an Independent candidate backed by the party, lost.
“I am thankful to the state and the central leadership for making me the candidate,” Tiwari said after the results, according to PTI. “I got 43 votes.”
Gehlot said the BJP will face a similar defeat in the Assembly polls next year.
Voting for the 16 vacant seats of the Rajya Sabha began earlier in the day at 9 am and ended at 4 pm. Six seats are vacant in Maharashtra, four each in Rajasthan and Karnataka and two in Haryana.
The counting of votes was halted in Maharashtra and Haryana after the Congress and the BJP approached the Election Commission, alleging violation of protocols.
Fifty-seven seats in the Upper House across 15 states will fall vacant between June 21 and August 1. However, 41 candidates in 11 states have won unopposed. This left 16 seats to be filled in the Upper House.
BJP’s Nirmala Sitharaman, actor Jaggesh and Karnataka MLC Lahar Singh Siroya won three out of the four seats, PTI reported. “They got more votes than the allotted ones, people from the other party helped us,” BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi said.
Former Union minister Jairam Ramesh of Congress secured the other seat. A total of six candidates were in the fray for the Rajya Sabha polls to the four seats.
HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular), which had fielded one candidate despite not having enough votes, failed to get even a single seat as the Congress did not accept its request for support in the name of secularism.
Siroya, Mansoor Ali Khan of the Congress and JD(S) lone candidate D Kupendra Reddy had fought for the fourth seat.
Sitharaman and Ramesh have been re-elected from Karnataka to the Upper House of Parliament for a consecutive term after their victory.
Ahead of the voting, both the parties had moved their MLAs to resorts to prevent poaching.
On Thursday, Jaipur Divisional Commissioner Vikas Sitaramji Bhale ordered suspension of internet in the Amer area for 17 hours till Friday noon in a bid to prevent MLAs from talking to the opposite side. This was the first time such a move was taken.
The BJP suspended its MLA Shobharani Kushwah for cross-voting in favour of Tiwari in the Rajya Sabha elections after the results were declared, PTI reported.
Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria issued an order saying that Kushwah voted for Tiwari despite a whip.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Tribal Party MLAs Rajkumar Roat and Ramprasad Dindor voted in support of the Congress against the decision of party chief Velaram Ghoghra, who had issued a whip to avoid taking part in the polls, reported PTI.
There are seven candidates in the fray for six seats in Maharashtra.
The BJP has nominated three candidates in the state – Union minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Dhananjay Mahadik. From the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar, National Congress Party’s Praful Patel and Congress’ Imran Pratapgarhi are contesting.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance has fallen into a tight spot after Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik, who is in jail, was not granted temporary bail to vote.
In Haryana too, the BJP and the Congress have moved their MLAs to resorts.
Three candidates are in the fray for two seats from the state. While the BJP has nominated five-time MLA Krishan Panwar as its candidate, the Congress has fielded senior leader Ajay Maken. One Independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma is also contesting.
Meanwhile, at least one Janata Dal (Secular) MLA K Srinivasa Gowda said he has voted for the Congress “because he loved it”, reported NDTV. Party chief HD Kumaraswamy has alleged that poaching attempts were made, adding that 30 of its 32 MLAs are supporting the Janata Dal (Secular).
It is not clear who the remaining MLA voted for.
Rajya Sabha polls
The Rajya Sabha has 245 members, of which 12 are nominated by the President and 233 are elected through voting process.
Rajya Sabha is a permanent House and cannot be dissolved. So, in order to ensure that the House runs perpetually, one-third of its members retire after every second year. Biennial elections are then held to fill these vacancies. A Rajya Sabha MP is chosen for six years.
Vacancies that arise after someone resigns, dies or is disqualified are filled up through bye-polls.
The elections to the Rajya Sabha are important as all the Bills, except the Money Bills, have to pass through both the Houses to become a law. No party has ever secured the majority of 123 seats, reported The Indian Express.
In April, the BJP become the first party to cross the 100 mark but its strength is now down to 95 as five of its nominated members are retiring.