BJP avenges by-poll defeat, wins UP Rajya Sabha cliffhanger
New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) Avenging its defeat at the hands of SP-BSP combine in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies, the BJP on Friday scored a major victory when its candidate defeated a BSP nominee for the 10th seat in the Rajya Sabha biennial elections in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and actor Jaya Bachchan of the SP were re-elected.
In all in the elections held for 25 seats on Friday, the BJP won 12, the Congress five, Trinamool Congress four, Telangana Rashtra Samiti three and the Samajwadi Party one.
Smarting under the loss of by-poll elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the BJP left no stone unturned to win the battle against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) when its candidate Anil Agarwal, a Ghaziabad-based businessman, defeated Mayawati's candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar in a cliffhanger of a contest that went to the wire.
While the BSP candidate got 33 votes -- short by four -- in the first preference votes against 22 of the BJP, the ruling party nominee was declared winner on the basis of second preference votes.
The votes of SP MLA Nitin Agarwal and Anil Singh of the BSP, who cross voted in favour of the BJP, were declared invalid.
In Uttar Pradesh alone, the BJP won nine seats including those of Jaitley and Agarwal. Other winners were Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, G.V.L. Narasimha Rao and Harnath Singh Yadav.
While the BSP cried use of money, muscle power and state machinery by the BJP to win the elections, it refused to blame the Samajwadi for defeat.
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.
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 irregularities. B.M. Farooq of the JD-S lost to G.C. Chandrasekhar of the Congress in the state.
Others elected from Karnataka were I. Hanumanthaiah and Syed Naseer Hussain of the Congress and Rajeev Chandrashekar of the BJP.
West Bengal went on predicted lines as the ruling Trinamool Congress bagged four seats and 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.
Telangana's ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) bagged all three Rajya Sabha seats. B. Prakash, J. Santosh Kumar and AB. Lingaiah Yadav were declared victorious while Congress candidate and former union minister P. Balram Naik was defeated.
In Chattisgarh, BJP candidate Saroj Pandey defeated Congress' Lekhram Sahu by a comfortable margin, getting also the votes two MLAs who cross voted in her favour. Pandey secured 51 votes while Sahu got only 36.
In the by-election held in Kerala, the Left Front-backed candidate M.P. Veerendra Kumar won by securing a huge margin against Congress candidate Babu Prasad. Kumar, who resigned from 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 former Union Minister and newspaper baron secured 89 votes as against 40 that Babu Prasad got.
Out of a total of 58 Rajya Sabha seats to be filled, 33 candidates from 10 states were already declared elected unopposed on March 15. Of the 33, the BJP won 17. These included seven union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar.
The Congress had won four, the Biju Janata Dal three, the RJD, JD-U and TDP two each and the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the YSR Congress one each.
In the elections held to 58 seats, the BJP won 29, the Congress nine, Trinamool four, TRS and BJD three each, JD-U, TDP and RJD two each and Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, NCP and YSR Congress one each.