Rajya Sabha Elections: Tough Fight Today In Rajya Sabha Polls Amid Cross-Voting Buzz: 10 Facts

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Rajya Sabha Election: The BJP is said to be banking on surplus votes from Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal.

New Delhi:
Cross-voting in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been reported from Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, where seven Samajwadi Party MLAs voted for the BJP, in polling for 15 Rajya Sabha seats across three states.

Here are 10 points on this big story:

  1. In Himachal Pradesh – where the Congress won 40 of 68 seats in the 2022 election and thought it had the support of three independent lawmakers – its candidate, Abhishek Singhvi is on the edge of a shock defeat. The BJP has only 25 MLAs in the hill state, but has benefitted from cross-voting by six Congress leaders and all three independents.

  2. The BJP – which forced the Congress into a contest by fielding ex-Congress MLA Harsh Mahajan – is now the favourite to claim a Rajya Sabha seat many felt it could not possibly win. A defeat here for Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu will be a prestige loss.

  3. In Uttar Pradesh, SP boss Akhilesh Yadav has said the decision to field a third candidate was a “test”. “Our third seat was actually a test to identify true companions…” he said this morning on X, in a swipe at rebel lawmakers who voted against his candidate.

  4. There are 10 Rajya Sabha seats available in UP. The BJP – with 252 seats, as well as 18 from allies – has fielded eight candidates. The SP – which has 108 MLAs – has fielded three. The BJP only has votes to fill seven seats, but is believed to be counting on votes from the Jayant Chaudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal to upset its rival’s apple cart.

  5. Seven SP lawmakers have cross-voted; this comes after a big shock to Mr Yadav early this morning, when his Chief Whip and four others were seen flashing ‘V-for-victory’ signs with the BJP’s RPN Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak.

  6. The rebellion – Mr Yadav has claimed he sensed the mutiny and will expel the rebels – could not come at a worse time for the Samajwadi Party, which has just sealed a deal with the Congress-led INDIA bloc to contest 63 of UP’s 80 Lok Sabha seats.

  7. Meanwhile, in Karnataka, the other state were voting has been forced, the BJP and its regional ally, the Janata Dal (Secular) faces off against the ruling Congress for four vacant seats. The JDS has fielded the fifth candidate – Kupendra Reddy.

  8. The Congress has 134 MLAs, while the BJP has 66 and the JDS 19. The Congress also claims the support of two independent lawmakers. This should give it enough to retain the three seats it had before this round of polling, but the margin is narrow and, with the BJP forcing the issue by fielding a fifth option, preferential voting comes into play.

  9. Apart from these, 41 seats have been filled unopposed. The list of new MPs includes former Congress boss Sonia Gandhi, BJP boss JP Nadda, and union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan, as well as ex-Congressman Ashok Chavan, now with the BJP.

  10. Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by MLAs through the proportional representation process with the single transferable vote (STV) system. The MLAs have to list all candidates in order of preference. A candidate with the required number of first-choice votes is elected. If the threshold is not reached, the votes are transferred to the second, the third, so on.

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