Rajya Sabha polls: BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan wins in Himachal after Congress MLAs cross vote

Results have been declared for four seats in Karnataka and 1 seat in Himachal Pradesh.

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The Congress suffered a major upset in Himachal Pradesh at the hands of the BJP in Rajya Sabha elections which were marred by cross-voting in all the three states though it won three seats in Karnataka while the saffron party is set to win big in Uttar Pradesh. Polling was held for 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh, four in Karnataka and one seat in Himachal Pradesh. On February 20, 41 candidates including BJP chief J P Nadda, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan were elected unopposed to the Upper House.

Himachal Pradesh saw cross-voting that led to the victory of BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan over Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Mahajan was declared winner by draw of lots after both the candidates were tied, securing 34 votes each. The result made it clear that nine MLAs voted in favour of the BJP. At present, the Congress has 40 MLAs, BJP 25 while three are independents in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly.

There was high drama in Uttar Pradesh where amid concerns over cross-voting, SP chief whip Manoj Pandey quit while polling was underway. As many as eight SP MLAs also did not attend a meeting called by the Yadav on Monday. In Karnataka, five candidates were in the fray for the four seats, including D Kupendra Reddy JD(S). Those elected are Ajay Maken, G C Chandrasekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain (all Congress) and Narayansa K Bhandage of the BJP.

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The election was marred by cross-voting as BJP MLA ST Somashekar voted for Maken, while another party legislator A Shivaram Hebbar abstained from voting. Somashekar said he listened to the "voice of his conscience" and voted in favour of the Congress "which built schools and carried out developmental works in his constituency". Hebbar too abstained from voting adhering to his conscience, he said.

In Uttar Pradesh, the ruling BJP and the principal opposition SP have the numbers in the assembly to send seven and three members respectively unopposed to the Rajya Sabha, but the BJP fielded an eighth candidate, making the contest interesting.

The candidates fielded by the BJP are: former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, general secretary of the party's Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind), party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former MLA Sadhna Singh, former Agra mayor Naveen Jain and industrialist Sanjay Seth.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DNA staff and is published from PTI)

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