The Congress on Friday won two of three seats from Rajasthan in Rajya Sabha elections, while the Bharatiya Janata Party secured the third, ANI reported. In Madhya Pradesh, the ruling saffron party won two seats and the Congress bagged one. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party won all four Rajya Sabha seats from the state.
The voting for 24 Rajya Sabha seats across 10 states was held earlier in the day. Most of them were deferred following the coronavirus pandemic. Elections were held for four seats each in Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two in Jharkhand and once each in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur.
Congress leaders KC Venugopal, Neeraj Dangi and Rajendra Gehlot of the BJP were elected to the Upper House from Rajasthan. The BJP also fielded a second candidate, Onkar Singh Lakhawat, but he lost the polls. With this, the Congress’ tally in the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan has increased to three, out of a total of 10. The other seven are BJP members.
The BJP objected to Congress MLA Wajib Ali voting in the polls, alleging that he recently returned from abroad and violated quarantine guidelines. “He has returned from abroad and is supposed to be under quarantine, but he violated this and reached the Assembly,” BJP MLA Ramlal Sharma told reporters in Jaipur.
Former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP earlier this year, and Sumer Singh Solanki won in Madhya Pradesh. Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya also secured a seat, but the party’s other candidate Phool Singh Baraiya lost.
In Andhra Pradesh, four candidates of the YSR Congress – Deputy Chief Minister Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose, minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana, industrialist Parimal Nathwani and realtor Ayodhya Rami Reddy – won with 38 votes each, according to PTI. Meanwhile, the Opposition Telugu Desam Party’s nominee Varla Ramaiah secured only 17 votes against its technical strength of 23 in the Assembly.
Meghalaya National People’s Party candidate WR Kharlukhi won the only Rajya Sabha seat from the state after defeating Congress candidate Kennedy Khyriem. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma thanked the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance partners for their support.
In Manipur, BJP leader Ram Madhav said the party won the single seat with 28 votes and that the Congress secured 24 votes. “It should now put all speculation about Manipur government’s stability and future to rest,” he tweeted. “Congratulations Manipur chief minister and his colleagues for this convincing victory.”
The Congress moved a no-confidence motion against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government ahead of the elections. The development came after the Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party pulled out of the coalition and extended support to the Congress.
Meanwhile, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren and BJP state unit president Deepak Prakash won the two Rajya Sabha seats from the state. Prakash secured 31 votes, while Soren, a former chief minister, won 30. Congress candidate Shahzada Anwar got 18 votes.
The counting for votes in Gujarat was delayed after the Congress urged the Election Commission to invalidate two BJP votes on different grounds. Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani said the Congress has sought cancellation of votes cast by BJP MLA Kesrisinh Solanki and minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama. “As long as our grievances about voting are not dealt with, counting will not start,” Dhanani told PTI. “We submitted our objections to the EC representative here after voting ended.”
The Congress said Chudasama’s election was cancelled by Gujarat High Court last month. However, the Supreme Court had stayed that order. The poll body has referred the matter to the Delhi office for final decision.
The Election Commission had in February announced polls to 55 Rajya Sabha seats across 17 states. In March, 37 candidates in 10 states were elected unopposed.