The biggies have cruised into the Rajya Sabha. And in the end all the drama in the Rajasthan BJP seems to have paid off, with Ram Jethmalani managing to win a place in the House of Elders.
In Karnataka, Vijay Mallya has won as an Independent candidate backed by friends-turned-foes, JD(S) and the BJP. Mallya pulled a rabbit out of the hat by making JD(S) chief HD Kumaraswamy and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa shake hands over his candidature, if only to keep the Congress out.
(Read: BJP, JD(S) join hands to make Mallya win
Vijay Mallya on BJP support)
This is a sight unseen since the JD(S) and BJP fell out when their coalition government failed. They managed to ensure the Congress's second candidate, TV Maruthi, was defeated. But the Congress' Oscar Fernandes made as did the BJP's Venkaiah Naidu and Ayanur Manjunath, with the highest first preference votes as expected.
In Bihar, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ram Kripal Yadav of the RJD and RP Singh of the Janata Dal have won. Paswan, no doubt heaving a sigh of relief, having been out in the cold ever since he lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2009. While the results were tame, BSP MLAs got the most attention with four out of the five cross-voting for the RJD. (Watch: Paswan, Rudy win amidst cross-voting
But it was Rajasthan that everyone was watching, particularly how Ram Jethmalani, a rank outsider contesting for the BJP, would fare. BJP MLAs objected to Jethmalani's candidature for his having defended Parliament-attack-accused Afzal Guru and the party had to lock up its 79 MLAs in a luxury resort to prevent cross voting. The 86-year-old Jethmalani was seen canvassing hard with the locked-up MLAs. Well, he won, but had the party biting its nails. (Watch:
Bitter battle in Rajasthan)
Polls: Heavyweights in pics)
|Rajya Sabha Elections: State-wise seats & Winners|
|Bihar||5||Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP), Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD), R P Singh (JD)|
|Rajasthan||4||Ram Jethmalani (BJP), Anand Sharma (BJP), Ashq Ali Tank (BJP)|
|Karnataka||4||Vijay Mallya (Independent), Venkaiah Naidu (BJP), Ayanur Maruthi (BJP), Oscar Fernandes (Cong)|
|Orissa||3||Pyarimohan Mohapatra (BJD), Sashi Bhushan Behera (BJD), Baishnab Charan Parida (BJD)|
As charges of horse-trading flew, the BJP held two full dress rehearsals on Wednesday for all its MLAs to cast their votes properly. Adding to the party's woes, at least five MLAs goofed up in casting their vote during the training session. The electoral arithmetic in Rajasthan is such that even a single vote miscast could spell doom for the BJP.
Several BJP MLAs, locked up in the resort since Monday, accused not just the ruling Congress, but also bureaucrats, of telephoning them to switch sides. Rubbish, said the Congress. The party rules in Rajasthan and both its candidates, Anand Sharma and Ashq Ali Tank, have made the grade, though not without some tense moments.
Commerce Minister Anand Sharma's candidature had caused some heartburn in the Rajasthan Congress. Sharma belongs to Haryana, and is politically active in Himachal Pradesh. But this time, with the BJP in power in Himachal, the Congress did not have the sole seat from that state.
Orissa, where elections were held for three Rajya Sabha seats, saw its share of drama. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's advisor Pyarimohan Mohapatra was re-elected. Former BJD MLA Sashi Bhushan Behera was elected, as was Baishnab Charan Parida, a politician who has been with the CPI, Samajwadi Party and the Congress before joining the BJD two years ago.
The ruling BJD was expected to win two of the seats. The third win was made possible by three MLAs, one of the BJP and two Congressmen not casting their votes and two votes being declared invalid. The "missing" MLAs have sent in their excuses, but the BJP man Bhimsen Choudhury may even be expelled, say party sources.