Days after it lost two crucial seats in Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday took a sweet revenge on the opposition by winning 12 of the remaining 25 seats at stake in crucial Rajya Sabha biennial polls in seven states. In Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party clinched an extra ninth seat overcoming the newfound bonhomie between former arch rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The BJP won nine seats in Uttar Pradesh alone including those of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Ghaziabad-based businessman Anil Agarwal. Other winners were Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, GVL Narasimha Rao and Harnath Singh Yadav. The remaining seat went to the Samajwadi Party in the polls marred by cross-voting from both the sides, which led to the defeat of the BSP candidate in the prestigious battle of ballots.
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Soon after the results were announced, PM Narendra Modi took to micro-blogging site Twitter to congratulate the winners. "Congratulations to all those elected to the Rajya Sabha from various states and best wishes for their parliamentary career. I hope they effectively voice the aspirations of the states they will represent," he tweeted.
On the other hand, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath blamed the BSP's loss on the Samajwadi Party's "opportunism" as it failed to transfer votes.
Samajwadi Party's actor-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was backed by ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, and BJP's Rajeev Chandrasekhar (from Karnataka) are also amongst those who made it to the Upper House of Parliament in the biennial polls.
The other major battle was in the Congress-ruled Karnataka where the ruling party won three seats and one went to the BJP. While the Congress was sure of two seats on its own, it wrested the third in a fight with Janata Dal-Secular that complained of irregularities. BM Farooq of the JD-S lost to GC Chandrasekhar of the Congress in the state.
"All three Congress candidates and one from the BJP won the contest while the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) candidate lost for the fourth seat," an Election Commission official told reporters here after counting of votes.
Congress's L Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and G C Chandrasekhar, and BJP's Rajeev Chandrashekar were declared elected after a complaint by the JD-S to the Election Commission caused delay in taking up counting of votes.
In Telangana, TRS candidates B Prakash, B Lingaiah Yadav and J Santosh Kumar were elected to the Rajya Sabha. The nominee of the main opposition Congress, P Balaram, lost the election. Prakash, Yadav and Santosh Kumar got 33, 32 and 32 votes respectively. Balaram obtained 10 votes, official sources said.
West Bengal went on predicted lines as the ruling Trinamool Congress bagged four seats while Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi backed by the Trinamool defeated CPI-M's Rabin Deb.
The four Trinamool candidates are sitting Rajya Sabha member Nadimul Haque and first time nominees Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santanu Sen.
According to election officials, Trinamool's Chakraborty secured the highest number of 54 votes. Haque and Biswas got 52 each and Sen 51. Singhvi garnered 47 votes. The votes of two Trinamool lawmakers - Jakir Hossain and Mrigendra Nath Maiti - were rejected.
BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey won the lone Rajya Sabha seat for which polling was held in Chhattisgarh, defeating Congress rival Lekhram Sahu.
Pandey polled 51 votes, while Sahu secured 36 votes in the election held at the state assembly complex, wherein 87 of the 90 state legislators cast their votes, state Assembly secretary Chandra Shekhar Gangrade, who is also the returning officer, said.
Left Front-backed candidate MP Veerendra Kumar won the Rajya Sabha by-election from Kerala by securing a huge margin against Congress candidate Babu Prasad.
Kumar, who resigned the seat in the Rajya Sabha after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar joined hands with the BJP, contested the seat after shifting from the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
The 80-year-old Kumar, a former Union Minister and newspaper baron, secured 89 votes as against 40 that Babu Prasad got.
In the 140-member house, one seat is vacant following the death of a legislator. One vote of the LDF was declared invalid.
Six legislators of the Kerala Congress (Mani), who currently sit as an independent block, the lone BJP legislator O. Rajagopal and independent legislator PC George did not vote.
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- With agency inputs