Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Suresh Prabhu, senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and all six nominees of AIADMK and DMK in Tamil Nadu were today elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha on expiry of deadline for withdrawal of nominations.
As none of the six candidates for as many RS seats in Maharashtra pulled out, all were elected to the Upper House including Chidambaram, Goyal, former union minister Praful Patel (NCP), BJP’s Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Vikas Mahatme and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut.
In Tamil Nadu, AIADMK candidates R Vaithilingam, A Navaneethakrishnan, A Vijayakumar, former Union Minister S R Balasubramoniyan, DMK nominees R S Bharathi and T K S Elangovan were declared elected to fill the vacancies of the six members who will retire on June 29 this year.
With the election of four MPs, the strength of AIADMK will go up to 12 from the present 11 in Rajya Sabha but there will be no change in the number of DMK MPs which will continue to be four.
In Andhra Pradesh, withdrawal of V Sunanda Reddy, a dummy candidate on behalf of main opposition YSR Congress, from fray paved the way for the unopposed election of four main candidates–Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu backed by BJP ally TDP, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Y Satyanarayana Chowdary and T G Venkatesh and V Vijaysai Reddy of TDP.
Sharad Yadav of ruling JD(U), noted Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani backed by ruling RJD and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti were among five candidates declared elected unopposed for Rajya Sabha in Bihar.
Jethmalani is pleading RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s case in the multi-crore rupee fodder scam in Ranchi.
Other two candidates who triumphed in Bihar without a contest were JD(U) nominee Ramchandra Prasad Singh and BJP’s Gopal Narayan Singh.
With this, the tally of parties for the 16 Upper House seats from Bihar is JD(U) 9, BJP 5 and RJD 2.
In Uttar Pradesh, the stage was set for contest for 11 Rajya Sabha seats with two extra candidates remaining in the fray at the end of withdrawal today, prompting major parties to work overtime to keep their flock together.
Returning Officer and Principal Secretary (Assembly) Pradeep Kumar Dubey said none of the 12 candidates for Rajya Sabha withdrew their papers.
The contest for Rajya Sabha became interesting after Independent candidate Preeti Mahapatra, a social worker, filed her papers at the last moment as the 12th candidate for the 11 seats going to polls next week, thereby forcing voting.
Several BJP MLAs and members of smaller parties besides some Independents have signed Preeti’s two sets of nominations making cross-voting a possibility.
Congress has accused her of being a BJP candidate who could encourage horse-trading as her entry might queer the pitch of noted lawyer Kapil Sibal, who needs five extra votes for victory. Congress has 29 MLAs and each candidate needs 34 votes for Rajya Sabha win.
Sibal is expecting help from BSP that had recently backed Congress in Uttarakhand Assembly floor test to defeat “communal forces”.