NDA, re­gional par­ties get ma­jor Ra­jya Sabha boost

POLL RE­SULTS BJP bags 12 seats; Con­gress gets 6, but is still big­gest in House

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The Con­gress won six seats in the Ra­jya Sabha polls on Satur­day but it was the BJP-led al­liance that made sig­nif­i­cant gains with 12 seats in the bi­en­nial elec­tions marked by cross-vot­ing and a dra­matic re­jec­tion of votes for a “wrong pen”.

The other ma­jor gainer in the elec­tions held for 27 seats across seven states in­clude the Sa­ma­jwadi Party which won seven seats in Ut­tar Pradesh. The Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party won two.

Out of the 58 seats that fell va­cant in the Up­per House this sum­mer, the NDA has now won 23, im­prov­ing upon the 18 seats it held ear­lier. The Con­gress, which held 15 of th­ese seats, now has nine. Thirty one can­di­dates won un­op­posed last week.

Over­all, the NDA now has 72 seats in the Ra­jya Sabha, still far off from the half­way mark of 123 that would al­low the rul­ing al­liance to push through key leg­is­la­tions stuck in the Up­per House.

Although the back­ing of some its po­ten­tial sup­port­ers such as AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) can push up the NDA’s strength to 106, the Con­gress still re­mains an in­flu­en­tial op­po­si­tion with 58 seats.

The re­main­ing seats be­long to re­gional par­ties like the BSP, SP and YSR Con­gress, who are likely to play key roles in the pas­sage of leg­is­la­tions like the Goods and Ser­vices Tax bill.

The BJP’s gains on Satur­day came from Ra­jasthan (4), Jhark­hand (2) and Mad­hya Pradesh (2) but the most stun­ning vic­tory came in Haryana where the party-backed in­de­pen­dent can­di­date and me­dia baron Sub­hash Chan­dra was de­clared the win­ner af­ter the votes of 14 Con­gress MLAs were re­jected on the ground that they used the wrong pen to mark their vot­ing slips.

The 14 MLAs are said to have de­lib­er­ately scut­tled the prospects of the INLD and Con­gress backed-in­de­pen­dent can­di­date RK Anand. The 14 MLAs ow­ing al­le­giance to for­mer chief min­is­ter Bhupin­der Singh Hooda were said to be un­happy with the party’s back­ing of Anand.

“Wher­ever BJP is there, cross vot­ing and horse trad­ing hap­pens. Still we won cru­cial seats, said Ghulam Nabi Azad.

In Jhark­hand too, the Con­gress failed to se­cure the vic­tory for JMM can­di­date Bas­ant Soren, son of party supremo Shibu Soren, where the rul­ing BJP nom­i­nee Mahesh Poddar won by a whisker. Just be­fore the vot­ing took place, a JMM leg­is­la­tor was ar­rested in a case dat­ing back to 2013. A Con­gress MLA, also fac­ing ar­rest, skipped the elec­tions.

The other BJP win­ner was Union min­is­ter Mukhtar Ab­bas Naqvi. The Con­gress, on the other hand, won hand­somely in Kar­nataka where its can­di­dates Jairam Ramesh, Os­car Fer­nan­des and K C Ra­ma­murthy won due to cross-vot­ing by JD-S MLAs. >> CON­TIN­UED ON P8 >> RE­LATED RE­PORTS, P8

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