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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 08, 2014
Elections held for eighteen Rajya Sabha seats on Friday threw up a mixed verdict with strong regional parties performing well. The Congress and its nominees picked up seven seats, while the rest were largely shared by regional outfits.
The Rajya Sabha has 250 members, 12 of which are nominated by the President. The rest are elected for six-year terms by the members of the legislative assemblies.

West Bengal saw the most drama with cross-voting and allegations of MLAs being abducted. In the end, the ruling Trinamool Congress managed to bag four of the five seats in the fray.

Read: Cross-voting in Bengal leaves Front, Cong red faced

Veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty, industrialist KD Singh and renowned painter Jogen Chowdhury won as widely expected. The party, however, managed to send a fourth candidate to the Upper House with three Left Front and two Congress MLAs supporting him.  A suspended Trinamool MLA also voted for a Congress candidate.

The run-up to the polls was marked by high drama with a missing-persons report being filed with the police after a Left Front MLA failed to turn up for a party meeting. The state Congress chief had also written to the Election Commission alleging that the Trinamool Congress had threatened and even kidnapped some of its MLAs.

Read: Trinamool wins three seats amidst cross-voting by Left Front, Cong MLAs

The Congress has suspended both MLAs who deserted its ranks. Ritabrata Banerjee, a youth leader, was the sole Left Front winner from the state.

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In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress bagged three of the six seats, with two going to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and one to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), courtesy the withdrawal of candidature of a Congress-rebel candidate.

Read: Regional parties take lion’s share of Rajya Sabha seats

Congress winners include industrialist T Subbarami Reddy, M A Khan, and K V P Ramachandra Rao. Congress MLA D Venkateswara Rao, husband of union minister D Purandeswari, became the first legislator to exercise the None-of-the-Above (NOTA) option.

The Congress’ MP from Sultanpur, Sanjay Singh won comfortably from Assam, notwithstanding voices of discontent at an ‘outsider’ taking away political space. The state Congress president Bhubaneshwar Kalita also won. The third seat from the state was bagged by the Bodo People’s Front, backed by the Congress.

In Orissa, three official candidates of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) sailed through, while the Congress candidate Ranjib Biswal defeated a BJD-backed independent candidate.

Read: BJD wins 3, Congress 1 amid horse-trading speculations