Rajya Sabha elections: BJP widens gap with Congress, consolidates position as largest party in Upper House

The BJP-led NDA’s chances of inching towards a majority have, however, suffered a setback with the TDP, which has six members, walking out of it.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2018 10:08 IST
Agencies
Agencies
New Delhi
Rajya Sabha election,BJP in Rajya Sabha Election,Congress in Rajya Sabha Election
Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks with BJP senior leader LK Advani as BJP president Amit Shah and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj look on during the party’s parliamentary party meeting at party headquarters in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI photo )

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) extended its position as the largest party in the Rajya Sabha, winning 28 of the 59 seats, even as a majority still eludes its National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The party won 12 of the 25 seats that saw voting on Friday — nine from Uttar Pradesh and one each from Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Karnataka.

Sixteen other party leaders were among the 33 who were declared elected unopposed on March 15, the last day of withdrawal of nomination of candidates.

Among the seats that went up for voting, all eyes had been on the 10 in Uttar Pradesh, where a nail-biting contest saw BJP secure nine seats — eight definite, and one by cross-voting by BSP and SP members.

The remaining seat went to the Samajwadi Party’s Jaya Bachchan as BSP candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar lost in the prestigious battle of ballots, touted as a test for the new-found bonhomie between the parties headed by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.

Besides BJP’s prominent winner, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, the others who made it to the upper house of Parliament from the party are Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav, GVL Narasimha Rao, and the ninth candidate Anil Kumar Agarwal, who pulled off a surpise win with the help of second preference votes.

The BJP’s Sameer Uranv and the Congress’s Dheeraj Sahu won the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand, returning officer Vinay Singh said.

In Karnataka, BJP’s Rajeev Chandrashekar was declared a winner along with Congress’s L Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and GC Chandrasekhar, amidst a complaint and boycott by JD(S).

BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey won the lone Rajya Sabha seat for which polling was held in Chhattisgarh, defeating Congress rival Lekhram Sahu.

The BJP now has 69 seats in the Rajya Sabha, up from the earlier 58.

However, the BJP-led NDA’s chances of inching towards a majority in the 245-member upper house have suffered a setback, with the TDP, which has six members, walking out of the alliance.

Ruling alliance sources, however, are of the view that a fall in Congress’s numbers and other vocal opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party will help their agenda in Rajya Sabha.

Parties like AIADMK, TRS and YSR Congress, which will have a combined strength of about 21 after new members take oath, have often supported the government’s legislative agenda in the Rajya Sabha.

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 09:20 IST