Jethmalani, Paswan, Mallya among 18 elected to RS

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 19 2010, 05:22am hrs
Lawyer and BJP nominee Ram Jethmalani, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, liquor baron Vijay Mallya, Union commerce minister Anand Sharma and Alchemist Group of Hospital chairman and JMM nominee KD Singh were among 18 elected to Rajya Sabha from five states on Thursday.

In Rajasthan, formal results were still awaited but sources in the BJP and Congress confirmed that Jethmalani, Anand Sharma were among the four official candidates who had made it the other two were Ashok Ali Tak (Cong) and VP Singh (BJP). Former Union minister Santosh Bagrodia, who was supported by the Congress as an Independent, was defeated. The BJP faced opposition within its ranks over the candidature of Jethmalani for having defended Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The party herded its legislators in a hotel to keep the flock together. The decision of CPM to abstain from voting seemed to have favoured the chances of the two BJP candidates.

Vijay Mallya, M Venkaiah Naidu, Oscar Fernandes and Ayanur Manjunath were elected from Karnataka. In Bihar, Ramvilas Paswan, BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy, RJDs Ramkripal Yadav, JD(U)s RCP Singh and Upendra Prasad Kushwaha won the polls. The presence of a Bangalore-based businessman B G Uday in the fray necessitated the polling for the five seats. Uday conceded defeat soon after polling began.

In Jharkhand, JMM and Congress bagged the two Rajya Sabha seats from the state while the BJP drew a blank. JMM nominee KD Singh got 32 votes, the highest, while Congress candidate Dheeraj Prasad Sahu retained his seat getting 28 votes. BJP candidate Ajay Maroo got 17 votes.

In Bhubaneswar, amid allegations that they might have been abducted, two MLAs from Congress and one from BJP failed to turn up to vote for the Rajya Sabha elections in Orissa. Congress MLAs Shibaji Majhi from Lanjigarh and Gregory Minz from Rajgangpur and also Bhimsen Choudhury, BJP MLA from Bonai, did not turn up till polling came to an end at 4 pm.

Of the 56 vacancies, 32 candidates including Union minister Ambika Soni, Gandhi family loyalist Satish Sharma, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, journalist Chandan Mitra and Union minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh were elected unopposed.