Interesting twist in Raj, Haryana and Maharashtra in Rajya Sabha elections

New Delhi: The June 10 Rajya Sabha elections are taking interesting turns with each passing day, especially in high-stakes states like Rajasthan, Haryana and Maharashtra.

Amid reports of independent MLAs being ‘wooed’ and possible cross-voting in states like Rajasthan, senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot took to social media with BJP-backed Independent candidate and media baron Subhash Chandra. Pilot termed Subhash Chandra’s claim of Congress MLAs cross voting for him during Friday’s election to the Upper House as “laughable”.

The Congress got a hit on Tuesday when two Indian Tribal Party MLAs declared their support to the Congress after meeting Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The ruling Congress in the state has shifted its MLAs to a hotel in Udaipur, alleging that the BJP is trying to buy out its MLAs.

The BJP has also shifted most of its MLAs from Rajasthan to a resort for a “training camp”, while the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) has announced support to Subhash Chandra. RLP national convener and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal announced his support to Chandra on Monday night. The RLP, a former NDA ally, has three MLAs in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly.

Rajasthan has four Rajya Sabha seats and each candidate needs 41 votes to win in the 200-member assembly. Congress has 108 MLAs and BJP has 71 votes. BJP is in a position to win one seat and has 30 surplus votes. He needs 11 more to win the second seat. Congress needs 15 more votes for the second and third seats. The party has kept all its MLAs in a resort for the safety of its flock.

Elections to four Rajya Sabha seats from Rajasthan will be held on June 10. The Congress has fielded Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Surjewala and Pramod Tiwari while the BJP has fielded former minister Ghanshyam Tiwari.

“Subhashji, this is not a TV series or entertainment. This is serious business,” said the pilot, taking a dig at the Zee chairman, who had also approached him.

Pilot shortly afterwards claimed the media baron that four Congress legislators would support him and appealed to Pilot to seize the opportunity to “revenge or send a message” by voting for him. “He has been fooled by the BJP for contesting elections and he will be humiliated,” Pilot said.

Chandra said that if Pilot missed the opportunity, he would not be able to become the chief minister till 2028. Pilot said the Congress has enough to win the third Rajya Sabha, “more than what we need”.

Also, ahead of the biennial elections to the four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka, the Congress appealed to ‘secular legislators’ to cast their ‘conscience vote’ to its candidate Mansoor Ali Khan. Congress Karnataka unit chief DK Shivakumar said he and former chief minister Siddaramaiah are making this appeal to everyone in the Karnataka assembly.

Considering their strength, the BJP with 120 MLAs and the Congress with 70 members are sure to win two seats and one seat respectively. The contest is to win the fourth seat of Rajya Sabha. The JD(S), with 32 MLAs, lacks enough MLAs to win a Rajya Sabha seat, but has fielded its lone candidate, Kupendra Reddy. The national party is also looking to win another seat, though the number of MLAs who cast their first preferential vote is less than the JD(S).

The BJP has fielded Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Kannada film actor-turned-politician Jaggesh, whose victories are certain. It has also made Lahar Singh Siroya its third candidate.

The Congress, on the other hand, has fielded Jairam Ramesh, for whom the party has enough numbers in the assembly to send him to the Rajya Sabha. However, it has also fielded Mansoor Ali Khan as the second candidate. Hence there is a tough fight between JD(S) candidate Kupendra Reddy, BJP’s LS Siroya and Congress’s MA Khan.