NEW DELHI: Polling is being held today in the crucial election to 27 Rajya Sabha seats in seven states, with a keen contest on cards in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Haryana.
While 30 of the total 57 seats in the current round of biennial elections to the Upper House have already been decided without a contest, the fate of candidates for the remaining 27 seats will be decided by this evening when the results will be announced.
Polling began at Assembly premises in the state capitals at 9 AM and will continue till 4 PM.
Verbal spat between SP MLA Hazi Zamerullah Khan & BJP MLA Raghunandan Singh Badauriya over their candidates during RS polls. RS Polls halted— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 11, 2016
In Haryana, where polling is being held for two seats, Union Minister Birender Singh from BJP is assured of a comfortable win. Independent candidate R K Anand has got the backing of Congress and its rival INLD, making it an uphill task for media baron and BJP-backed Independent candidate Subhash Chandra.
In Uttar Pradesh, where elections are being held to 11 seats, interest is centred around a fight between former union minister Kapil Sibal and BJP-backed independent socialite Preeti Mahapatra.
Sibal will need the support of BSP, which has 12 votes more than necessary for the success of its own candidates Satish Chandra Mishra and Ashok Sidharth. BSP supremo Mayawati has maintained suspense over her party's support in Uttar Pradesh. But Sibal can draw heart from the fact that she has already extended backing for a Congress candidate in Madhya Pradesh by promising one vote required for senior Supreme Court lawyer Vivek Tankha, fielded by Congress.
Congress has 29 MLAs and needs the backing of five more to see Sibal through. The ruling SP has fielded seven candidates including Amar Singh and Beni Prasad Verma, who both rejoined the party recently, and Reoti Raman Singh. Its seventh candidate is, however, short of 9 first preference votes. SP has been promised backing by Ajit Singh-led RLD which has 8 MLAs.
The BJP has fielded Shiv Pratap Shukla, who is sure to get elected on its own 41 MLAs, and has offered 7 surplus votes to Mahapatra.
Karnataka, where four seats are up for grab, is poised to witness a battle between the ruling Congress and the JD(S). Union Minister Nirmala Seetharaman of BJP, who needs just one vote more than the party's strength of 44, and former union ministers Jairam Ramesh and Oscar Fernandes of Congress are sure of victory.
With 122 members, Congress has a surplus of 33 votes after ensuring the victory of Ramesh and Fernandes. It has fielded former senior IPS officer K C Ramamurthy as its third candidate for which it requires 12 more votes.
With 40 members, dissidence-hit JDS is in an unenviable position as five MLAs have virtually raised a banner of revolt amid reports that they might indulge in cross voting to help Congress. JDS needs five more votes for its candidate B M Farooq, a corporate personality, to sail through but is struggling to keep the herd together.
Allegations of bribing JD(S) and Independent MLAs marred the polls in Karnataka though the Election Commission rejected demands for cancelling them.
In Jharkhand also, a close contest is possible where a united opposition can upset the ruling BJP's calculations. But its first candidate and Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is sure of victory. The BJP has 43 MLAs on its own and enjoys the support of six more MLAs of its allies.
JMM supremo Shibu Soren's son Basant is pitted against BJP's Mahesh Poddar. However, if Congress (6), RJD and rest of the opposition come together and back the JMM candidate, Basant can look at victory.
Uttarkhand, where election is only for one seat, Congress nominee Pradeep Tamta is set to sail through needing just two additional votes apart from his party's 26 and ally PDF's six.
In Karnataka, 8 JD(S) MLAs indulge in cross-voting: In a loss of face, eight JD(S) MLAs, defying the party whip, today voted against its official candidate and supported Congress in the biennial elections to fill four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka.
"8 MLA's have voted against JD-S in today's Rajya Sabha election in favour of Congress. Tomorrow in the party's meeting, we are going to take action against them according to provisions of the party constitution," JD-S spokesman Ramesh Babu said.
The rebel MLAs who cross-voted are Zameer Ahmed Khan, Chaluvaraya Swamy, Iqbal Ansari, Balakrishna, Ramesh Bandisiddegowda, Gopalaiah, Bheema Nayak and Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, Babu said, admitting the loss much before polls ended. READ MORE
BJP lawmaker accuses SP MLAs of not allowing to vote in RS polls: The Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha witnessed uproar over voting for 11 Rajya Sabha seats on Saturday, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dubbed Samajwadi Party (SP) legislators as "acting like goons".
Krishna Paswan, BJP legislator from Khaga assembly constituency accused the SP MLAs of not letting her vote to in the House. READ MORE
Polling for lone RS seat from Uttarakhand concludes: Polling for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Uttarakhand was held amid tight security at the state Assembly here today with Chief Minister Harish Rawat and Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal among the first to cast their votes.
Polling which began at 9 AM concluded at about 12:20 PM, much before its scheduled conclusion at 4 PM. However, counting of ballots will begin after 4 PM, Secretary Vidhan Sabha Jagdish Chandra said. READ MORE
MP begins voting for three RS seats: Voting for the three RS seats from Madhya Pradesh in which two BJP candidates senior journalist MJ Akbar and Anil Dave and Congress nominee Vivek Tankha are in the fray, began today with MLA Ramniwas Rawat casting the first ballot at the State legislative assembly here.
After Rawat who is the Congress chief whip in the State Assembly, BJP MLA Girish Gautam cast his vote. In the polling, 228 members of the House are expected to take part. The election that began here at 9 AM will end at 4 PM after which the counting of votes is scheduled to begin at 5 PM, RS returning officer in MP Bhagwandev Israni told PTI. READ MORE
Haryana begins voting on two RS seats: Voting began for two Rajya Sabha seats in Haryana here today which are falling vacant in August, with three candidates including Union Minister Birender Singh in fray.
The Haryana Assembly has 90 members and polling will be held between 9 AM to 4 PM today. Yesterday, the Congress had announced support for INLD-backed Independent candidate and lawyer R K Anand for one of the seat in the biennial elections being held today. READ MORE
Rajasthan begins polling for four RS seats: Leader of opposition Rameshwar Dusi cast the first vote followed by former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, the assembly spokesperson said. In the house of 200, the ruling BJP has 160 members and Congress 24. National Peoples Party has four, BSP has three, National Unionist Zamindara Party has two and seven are independents.
Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, BJP's national Vice President Om Prakash Mathur, former RBI official Ramkumar Sharma and member of erstwhile Dungarpur royal family Harsh Vardhan Singh are the BJP candidates whereas Kamal Morarka filed nomination papers as independent candidaate. READ MORE
The counting of votes will be taken up at 5 p.m. today.