Rajya Sabha polls: BJP wins big amid allegations of cross-votingtext_fields
After furious allegations of cross-voting, rule violations, and hours-long delays, the results of the fiercely fought Rajya Sabha elections were declared in the wee hours of Saturday. Out of the 16 seats up for grabs across four states -- Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Karnataka --, the BJP won eight, thereby strengthening its position in the Upper House of Parliament.
The Congress retained three seats in Rajasthan but suffered setbacks in Haryana. In Maharashtra, the ruling alliance suffered a jolt.
Counting was held up in two states -- Haryana and Maharashtra – for over eight hours amid complaints of cross-voting and rules violations.
In Maharashtra, where the counting of votes was hugely delayed, the ruling alliance of Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar's NCP, and the Congress suffered a setback with the BJP winning the third seat in a straight fight against the Sena. The alliance won three seats, and the BJP three.
Earlier, both BJP and the Shiv Sena had met the Election Commission, alleging cross-voting and seeking disqualification of votes. The BJP questioned the validity of ballots cast by three MLAs of the ruling alliance. The Maha Vikas Aghadi, too, sought to invalidate two votes, one by a BJP MLA and another by an independent.
Haryana turned out an upset for Congress, with one of the two seats won by the BJP and the other by Kartikeya Sharma, the media baron and Independent candidate it backed. Ajay Maken, for whom the party initially claimed a victory, lost.
The state's s ruling BJP had initially sought the cancellation of the votes of two Congress members, alleging that two Congress MLAs showed their ballot papers to unauthorized persons. Ajay Maken also wrote to the Election Commission, alleging the BJP's objection was "false and frivolous".
In Rajasthan, the Congress won three of the four Rajya Sabha seats, with cross-voting by BJP members. One seat has gone to the BJP.
Congress candidates Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Surjewala got extra votes. So did BJP candidate Ghanshyam Tiwari. Zee chairman Subhash Chandra, backed by the BJP, lost. One vote was rejected.
In Karnataka, the BJP won three seats and the Congress one. HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal-Secular, whose home base the state is, lost the seat they had. BJP's Nirmala Sitharaman, Jaggesh, and Lehar Singh Siroya took three out of the four seats, while the Congress's Jairam Ramesh won the remaining one.
In Rajya Sabha, 57 seats across 15 states had fallen vacant. The maximum, 11, are in Uttar Pradesh. It is followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu (6 each), Bihar (5), Karnataka, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh (4 each), Madhya Pradesh and Odisha (3 each) Punjab, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Telangana (2 each) and one seat from Uttarakhand. Forty-one candidates were elected unopposed.