Polling held for 56 Rajya Sabha seatsMarch 26th, 2008 - 10:06 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) The fate of many central ministers and some top leaders of the country’s political parties who contested polls for a seat in parliament’s upper house was decided Wednesday when the biennial Rajya Sabha elections for 56 seats were conducted in 17 states. Simultaneously, elections were also held to fill up 18 seats of Maharashtra and Bihar legislative councils.
The elections for two Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, which fell vacant due to the retirement of Vijay Mallaya and M.V. Rajasekharan, could not be held because the state’s assembly stands dissolved.
Central minister Suresh Pachauri, whose Rajya Sabha term expires, has not contested the poll.
The Rajya Sabha vacancies include seven from Maharashtra, four from Orissa, six from Tamil Nadu, five from West Bengal, six from Andhra Pradesh, three from Assam, five from Bihar, two from Chhattisgarh, four from Gujarat, two from Haryana, one from Himachal Pradesh, two from Jharkhand, three from Madhya Pradesh, one from Manipur, three from Rajasthan, one from Meghalaya and one from Arunachal Pradesh.
The elections had their own share of controversies with some prominent leaders ending up disappointed. In Bihar, actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted a third term but was denied it by his party. BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy was also denied the ticket.
Leaders in the fray in Bihar include N.K Singh of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), C.P Thakur (BJP), central minister Prem Chand Gupta from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Sabir Ali of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), and Govind Pandey, Independent supported by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The elections dented the Samajwadi Party in Biha, which had only two members in the assembly. Both of them, Debnath Prasad Yadav and Gopal Agarwal, resigned from the party to protest against its decision to support candidates of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
Similarly, a Samajwadi Party legislator who was asked by his party to vote for the UPA candidate in Madhya Pradesh crossed over to the NDA, alleging attempts at bribery by the Congress, leading to his suspension by the SP.
Since a majority of the states going to polls are ruled either by the BJP or the NDA led by it, or at any rate by non-UPA parties, these elections are expected to tilt the balance against the ruling coalition in the house of elders.
The prominent Congress leaders in the fray are: union ministers T. Subbirami Reddy (Andhra Pradesh), Prithviraj Chavan (Maharashtra), Murli Deora (Maharashtra) and G.K. Vasan (Tamil Nadu), Jayanti Natarajan (Tamil Nadu), Congress treasurer Motilal Vohra (Chhattisgarh), Rishang Keishing (Manipur), Mukut Mithi (Arunachal Pradesh) and Congress Mahila Morcha leader Prabha Thakur (Rajasthan).
The BJP list includes Shanta Kumar (Himachal Pradesh), Balbir Punj (Orissa) and Om Prakash Mathur (Rajasthan).
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar has already been declared elected from Maharashtra. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi made sure that his detractors in the state did not get the ticket. Mathur got the ticket from Rajasthan despite covert opposition from Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindhia.
Counting of votes began in the 17 states after polling ended at 5 p.m.
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