Rajya Sabha Polls: Kapil Sibal Wins, But Poll Results Point At Rebellion In Congress Party

12/06/2016 9:23 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
HuffPost Staff

LUCKNOW--Despite heavy cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s strategy of supporting an Independent candidate considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and thwart Congress candidate Kapil Sibal’s chances didn't quite work.

However, Sibal's victory wasn't enough. The Congress suffered a jolt with Sibal getting only 25 first preference votes despite the 8-member RLD committing four votes each to Congress and SP.

Besides Sibal, the others who made it to the Rajya Sabha from the state are two recent returnees to the SP-fold Amar Singh, Beni Prasad Verma, Kuwar Rewati Raman Singh, Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, Sukhram Singh Yadav, Sanjay Seth and Surendra Nagar (all SP), Satish Chandra Mishra and Ashok Sidharth (both BSP) and the BJP’s official candidate, Shiv Pratap Shukla, a former State minister won with 36 votes.

The results showed that BSP, which had backed Congress RS nominees in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, chose not to transfer its surplus votes to any other party candidate in Uttar Pradesh.

There were 12 candidates for 11 Rajya Sabha seats in UP and to secure a seat in Rajya Sabha, a candidate required 34 votes.

In the 403-member Assembly, SP has 229 MLAs, BSP 80, BJP 41, Congress 29 and RLD 8. Peace Party has 4 MLAs, Qaumi Ekta Dal (2), NCP (1), Apna Dal (1), Ittehad-e-Millat Council (1) and Trinamool Cong (1). There are 6 independents.

However, the contest between Sibal and Preeti Mahapatra was the one that caught the most attention. Mahapatra's entry into the fray on the last day of filing nominations had turned a straight-forward election into a contest with voting, opening doors for horse-trading and cross-voting.

In Mahapatra's nomination, she had received the support of MLAs across party lines. While Sibal made it through with 25 votes as Mahapatra bowed out with 18 votes, there is something that the Congress needs to introspect.

Amid heavy cross-voting, the Congress, which was banking on additional votes from the BSP, received only 25 first preference votes in spite of the RLD, which did not field a candidate but committed four votes each to it and the SP, notes The Hindu.

A number of Congress legislators reportedly voted for Mahapatra.

Meanwhile, in Haryana, media baron and BJP-backed independent candidate Subhash Chandra scored an unexpected win against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi-backed independent nominee R K Anand, who also had the support of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

By securing 24 votes, Chandra defeated senior lawyer RK Anand. He got 15 votes.

Among the votes cancelled was that of Congress legislator and spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala who had allegedly showed his vote to another party leader Kiran Chaudhary, reports NDTV. Political analysts say that the result could point to a rebellion within the party.

The Samajwadi Party fielded seven candidates but the seventh candidate was short of nine first-preference votes for victory.

Although SP managed to ensure victory of all its seven candidates, only three were through in the first round of counting, reflecting that the contest was close for the ruling party.

Bahujan Samaj Party chose not to transfer its 12 surplus votes with it two candidates SC Mishra getting 39 votes and Ashok Sidhharth 42.

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