The Congress won two Rajya Sabha seats from Rajasthan in the election held Friday while BJP took home one seat, officials said.
The results were on expected lines, with Congress candidates K C Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi both managing a comfortable victory, while BJP had a winner in Rajendra Gehlot. The only losing candidate was BJP’s Onkar Singh Lakhawat.
With their election, the Congress now has three Rajya Sabha Members, while the BJP has seven.
With 200 seats in the Rajasthan Assembly, each Rajya Sabha candidate required 51 votes to be elected. The Congress has a collective strength of 125 votes – 107 of its own MLAs, all 13 independent MLAs, 2 MLAs each of Bhartiya Tribal Party and CPI(M), and one of RLD. However, in Friday’s election, Social Justice and Empowerment minister Bhanwarlal Meghwal and Dungargarh CPI(M) MLA Girdharilal could not vote on account of their health.
Of the 123 votes, Venugopal garnered 64 first preference votes while Dangi won 59, said Pramil Kumar Mathur, Returning Officer for the polls and Secretary of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.
The BJP, meanwhile, received a total of 75 votes – 72 of its own and 3 of Hanuman Beniwal-led Rashtriya Loktantrik Party. Rajendra Gehlot received 54 votes while Lakhawat could manage only 20 — one BJP vote was rejected.
Earlier this month, Lakhawat’s candidature by the BJP had snowballed into a political blame game, with the Congress alleging a poaching bid by the BJP, and herded its own and supporting MLAs to a resort on the outskirts of Jaipur. Eventually, the BJP also took its MLAs to a hotel for two days for a “workshop”.
On Friday, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot congratulated the Congress’s legislators and also thanked “all MLAs from other parties and independents, who voted for our candidates and who remained firm in supporting us despite several attempts by the BJP to lure them. We are happy that together we ensured those forces, which plotted to disrupt the democratic process on basis of money power gets defeated”.
Meanwhile, BJP state president Satish Poonia extended greetings to Rajendra Gehlot, adding, “I trust you to continue doing your work for people of the state and the organisation wholeheartedly, like you have been doing so far.”
Rajasthan has 10 Rajya Sabha seats and nine were with the BJP; this included three whose tenure ended on April 9 this year: Ram Narain Dudi, Vijay Goel and Narayan Lal Panchariya.
Before the elections, Congress party’s only Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan was former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was elected unopposed last year after the seat fell vacant following the demise of BJP leader Madan Lal Saini.
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