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2 surprise wins give BJP 12 seats, helps it close RS gap

2 surprise wins give BJP 12 seats, helps it close RS gap


New Delhi: In Rajya Sabha elections packed with dramatic Wins, losses and widespread cross-voting, the Congress faced a virtual rebellion in Haryana with the party-supported candidate R K Anand losing to BIP-backed media mogul Subash Chandra due to 14 invalid votes even though the Bahujan Samaj Party bailed out Congress nominees in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

BJP also scored an upset win with the narrowest of second-preference vote margins in Jharkhand while Congress succeeded in winning a third seat in Karnataka due to cross-voting by eight Janata Dal (S) MLAs. Congress's nominee, former police officer K C Ramamurthy, benefited from votes gained from former PM Deve Gowda's party.

Congress succeeded in Winning a third seat in Karnataka with the help of cross-voting by eight Ianata Dal (S) MLAs. The Congress’s nominee, former police officer K C Ramamurthy, benefitted from votes gained from former PM Deve Gowda’s party.

In Jharkhand, Mahesh Poddar won a close Victory over Iharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Basant Soren by a second preference weightage of 0.99. As two Congress MLAs 
did not vote, minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Naqvi got 29 votes and sailed through. Soren got 28 to Poddar’s 24 but voting went into second preference as the mark of 27 needed for a win was not reached. Now, there was a tie at 26 each but the BJP had the slenderest margin of extra votes to transfer and Poddar squeeked through.

The large number of invalid votes in Haryana took Congress by surprise as the development seems a clear revolt against the choice of the party high command. Anand had the support of Congress and INLD and should have got the requisite 31 votes to beat Chandra with a combined strength of 36 (Congress 17, INLD 19). But officials rejected 14 votes. Though Anand got more first preference votes, he lost as a sufficient number of BJP MLAs listed Chandra as their second preference.

BJP sources claimed Congress MLAs had not comitted a foolish error but deliberately tripped Anand. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya is believed to have played a role in Chandra's win. INLD leader Abhay Chautala alleged former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda orchestrated Anand's loss. "Hooda has surrendered before BJP because he fears a CBI probe against him in various cases," Chautala said.

Congress did not officially react to the Haryana development, but party spokesperson R P N Singh said, "It is shocking the kind of money and muscle power that BJP government has used to try and win these elections. The PM says he swears by the Constitution...but that very Constitution is being subverted to win elections."

Elections to 57 Rajya Sabha seats gave the heebie-jeebies to several high-profile candidates as almost every party was affected by cross-voting but most managed to beat back "independents" supported by political rivals. Though BJP's wild card entry in UP Preeti Mahapatra lost, she held Sibal to a tight second round race where BSP votes were crucial.

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