Rajya Sabha polls: Congress wins 2, BJP bags third seat in Rajasthan; Score was flipped in Madhya Pradesh

The Congress party won two of three Rajya Sabha seats up for voting in Rajasthan while the BJP won the third in the biennial election held on Friday. The score was flipped in Madhya Pradesh where the ruling BJP won two and Congress one. The outcome of the closely-watched contest in Gujarat is still awaited. The build-up to the elections, in which 24 seats from 10 states were at stake, was marked by a resurgence of resort politics, resignations, switching sides and allegations of bribery.
KC Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi of the Congress and Rajendra Gehlot of the BJP were elected to the upper house from Rajasthan without any cross-voting. The BJP had fielded a second candidate as well, Onkar Singh Lakhawat, but he lost. With this, the number of Congress party’s tally in the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan has increased to three, out of a total of 10. The other seven are BJP members.
In Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki were elected on BJP tickets while Digvijaya Singh won from the Congress. The other Congress candidate, Dalit leader Phool Singh Barriya, lost the election. Samajwadi Party MLA Rajesh Shukla was expelled by his party for voting for the BJP.
In Andhra Pradesh, the ruling YSR Congress scooped up all four seats as expected. According to news agency PTI, Deputy Chief Minister Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose, Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana, industrialist Parimal Nathwani and realtor Ayodhya Rami Reddy of the YSRC were elected with 38 votes each. The opposition Telugu Desam Party, which had forced the contest despite not having the numbers, lost badly.
Counting of votes for four seats in Gujarat was delayed as the Congress demanded that the Election Commission scrap 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.
The Congress objected to Mr Chudasama casting his vote, saying that his election was cancelled by the Gujarat High Court last month. However, the Supreme Court has put a hold that order. As to Solanki’s vote, the party claimed that an unauthorised person accompanied him inside the polling booth. The Election Commission observer, however, has rejected the opposition party’s objections and referred the matter to election body’s Delhi office for a final decision, news agency PTI reported.
Elections were held on four seats each from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, three each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two from Jharkhand and one each from the northeastern states of Meghalaya and Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. The voting began at 9 am. The toughest fight was over one seat in Gujarat, one in Rajasthan, and one in Madhya Pradesh.
In two states, Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Congress whisked away its flock, accusing the BJP of attempts to buy its MLAs. The drama was more elaborate in Gujarat, where the BJP had fought a pitched battle to grab the seat of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel three years ago, and narrowly missed. A comfortable majority in the Rajya Sabha is crucial for the BJP to pilot bills through the upper house. The NDA needs around 30 more seats to have majority in the upper house.