Burnished credentials and bruised egos in Rajya Sabha elections

He said Fadnavis pulled off a miracle by drawing all Independents and smaller parties to win a difficult third seat.

Published: 13th June 2022 07:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th June 2022 07:25 AM   |  A+A-

Rajya Sabha. (File Photo)

Rajya Sabha. (File Photo)

If the just concluded Rajya Sabha elections to 16 seats in four states showcased the deft managerial skills of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, Basavaraj Bommai in Karnataka and Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra; the last name emerged the tallest of them all, drawing a grudging word of acknowledgement from Sharad Pawar. The Machiavellian NCP patriarch is not known to use adjectives lightly.

He said Fadnavis pulled off a miracle by drawing all Independents and smaller parties to win a difficult third seat. The game was played through second preference votes, where the BJP showed it was smarter at poll management than the Shiv Sena. By doing so, the BJP gave itself a psychological advantage ahead of the Presidential polls next month. Another booster shot for the BJP came from Bommai, as the party benefited from the squabbling opposition to win a third seat, drawing laurels from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That seat was very much within the grasp of the Congress/JDS had they put up a joint candidate but both sides refused to look at the bigger picture of opposition unity and paid the price. 

If Rajasthan showed the limitations of money power as media magnate Subhash Chandra lost his way in the race, Haryana offered a diametrically opposite case study with another media biggie Kartikeya Sharma muscling his way into the Rajya Sabha with a slim margin using his family’s networking and alleged deep pockets. In the process, Sharma trounced Congress heavyweight Ajay Maken. The loss tarred the reputation of Haryana Congress strongman Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who wrested control over the state unit of the party and is running it by proxy. Sena CM Uddhav Thackeray, too, joined the list of bruised egos. 

The consolation prize of course went to Gehlot for skilfully herding his Rajasthan flock and keeping predator Chandra away from the fence. It burnished his credentials as a doer, giving the Rajasthan  CM a bigger breathing space from his ambitious rival Sachin Pilot. In sum, the polls had a generous mix of the skilled and the dodgy with some cross-voting thrown in between. It also showed it is a game of big stakes played by power brokers. How such netas would contribute to healthy lawmaking is anybody’s guess.


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