Rajya Sabha Elections Settle At 8-4 For BJP, Congress: 10 Points

The build-up to the elections, in which 19 seats from eight states were at stake, was marked by a resurgence of resort politics, resignations, switching sides and allegations of bribery.

BJP Rajya Sabha candidate Abhay Bhardwaj ahead of voting in Gandhinagar.

New Delhi: Eight of the 19 Rajya Sabha seats up for vote in the biennial election held in eight states on Friday went to the BJP while the Congress won four. The BJP scooped up three seats in Gujarat, two in Madhya Pradesh and one in Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Manipur each. The Congress, meanwhile, took home two seats in Rajasthan and one in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat each. The build-up to the elections was marked by a resurgence of resort politics, resignations, switching sides and allegations of bribery. Despite the gains on Friday, the BJP remains short of a majority in the Rajya Sabha, crucial to pilot its bills through the upper house.

Here are the top 10 developments in this story:

  1. Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin from the BJP and Congress's Shaktisinh Gohil won the election in Gujarat. The Congress party had also fielded Bharatsinh Solanki for a second seat but he lost. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. In Manipur, BJP candidate Leisemba Sanajaoba won the election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat, defeating the Congress nominee in a high-voltage political drama that triggered by the rebellion of nine MLAs of the ruling BJP-led coalition. Former Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren and BJP state unit president Deepak Prakash won two Rajya seats from the state. In Meghalaya, the National People's Party's (NPP) W R Kharlukhi won the lone seat from the state. In Mizoram, the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) also won the state's only seat.

  6. Elections were held on four seats each from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two from Jharkhand and one each from the northeastern states of Meghalaya and Manipur 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The Election Commission made elaborate arrangements for the voting in view of the pandemic. Every MLA was screened for body temperature and while sticking to safety measures like wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing. Legislators having a fever or showing other symptoms were kept in a separate waiting room.

  9. However, the Rajasthan BJP objected to Congress MLA Wajib Ali voting in the Rajya Sabha polls, alleging that he recently returned from abroad and violated quarantine norms. The Nagar MLA wore a PPE suit before voting in the assembly building.

  10. Before Friday's voting, the NDA had 91 of the 245 Rajya Sabha seats, the Congress-led UPA had 61. The other opposition and the non-aligned parties together had 68 seats. The key candidates in today's election included Shakti Singh Gohil and Bharat Singh Solanki from Gujarat, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh from Madhya Pradesh and KC Venugopal from Rajasthan.