Closing their gaps in Parliament’s Upper House, the BJP on June 11 won 12 Rajya Sabha seats, 2 of which came as a surprise win.
In Haryana, Congress backed INLD candidate R K Anand, lost to BJP-backed media mogul Subhash Chandra as 14 Congress votes got declared invalid for the most embarrassing reasons.
Subhash Chandra (L) with RK Anand (R), during polling PTI
While 12 of the 14 votes were invalidated as they used the “wrong pen” to tick their choice, two other votes got invalidated because party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accidentally showed his vote to party leader Kiran Chaudhary and one vote was unmarked.
The second surprise win for BJP came in Jharkhand, where party backed Mahesh Poddar won by a hairline as two Congress MLAs did not vote, and Poddar got second-preference weightage of 0.99.
Though in Karnataka Congress tasted success in winning three of the 4 seats due to cross-voting by eight Janata Dal (S) MLAs and Congress’s nominee, with K C Ramamurthy, benefiting from votes gained by from former PM Deve Gowda’s party.
Some of the prominent winners of the ballots were BJP’s M Venkaiah Naidu, Birendra Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, M J Akbar and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
For Congress the prominent winners were veterans Jairam Ramesh, Oscar Fernandes and Kapil Sibal.
Congress’s Kapil Sibal (Extreme R) PTI
Of all the wins and losses it was the large number of invalid votes in Haryana that took Congress by surprise, but many believe the move was not foolish error but a mark of clear revolt against party high command for choosing Anand. Anand, who had support of Congress and INLD should have got the requisite 31 votes to beat Chandra with a combined strength of 36 (Congress 17, INLD 19), but with officials rejecting 14 votes, he lost a sufficient number even though he had more first preference votes.
It must be noted that the Congress high command had chosen Anand in the Haryana despite former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda disinclining to support him.
Out of the 57 Rajya Sabha seats that fell vacant in 2016, candidates for 30 seats were elected unopposed and voting took place for remaining 27 seats. (BJP-12; Congress- 6; BSP – 2; SP -7)