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Trinamool gains from cross-voting, TRS makes debut in Rajya Sabha
Saturday February 8, 2014 6:35 AM, IANS

Reaping the fruits of cross-voting, Trinamool Congress gained an extra Rajya Sabha seat in West Bengal while the TRS made its debut to the upper house from Andhra Pradesh in the polls held in four states Friday.

Veteran Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty, celebrated painter Jogen Chowdhury, former MP K.D. Singh and journalist Ahmed Hasan Imran were elected to the Rajya Sabha on a Trinamool ticket from West Bengal. Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate Ritabrata Banerjee also made it to parliament' upper house.

Journalist A.S. Malihabadi, who was in fray as an Independent, candidate backed by the Congress and the Left Front, lost after five lawmakers cross-voted in favour of Trinamool. Three of them belonged to the LF, and two others to the Congress.

On the other hand, suspended Trinamool Congress member Sikha Mitra voted for Malihabai.

The Congress suspended both rebel members - Sushil Roy and Himani Biswas - who voted for Imran.

While the victories of Trinamool's Chakraborty, Chowdhury and Singh and CPI-M's Banerjee were a foregone conclusion, a tough contest was on the cards for the fifth seat between Hasan and Malihabadi. The Left earlier said it would transfer its surplus votes to ensure Malihabadi's victory.

However, results showed the Left had transferred all its first preference votes to Banerjee to ensure his smooth sailing.

In Andhra, the Telangana issue overshadowed the polls with the Congress legislators from Telangana voting for the candidates from the region - M.A. Khan and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) nominee Keshava Rao, who won.

Rao was earlier a member of Rajya Sabha from Congress, which he quit to join TRS last year.

Congress bagged three of the six seats up for grabs, while the Telugu Desam got two. T. Subbarami Reddy, K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and Khan of the Congress, and T. Sitarama Lakshmi and G. Mohan Rao of TDP were among the triumphant candidates.

Subbarami Reddy, a former central minister, was elected for the third term in a row while Ramachandra Rao, a close aide of former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Khan were nominated for the second consecutive term. It will be the first term in the upper house for both TDP candidates.

Congress rebel A. Prabhakar Reddy drew a blank. Though he Thursday announced that he was withdrawing from the contest, the Election Commission went ahead with the elections as he did not withdraw before the deadline for taking back the nominations.

A legislator of the ruling party availed None Of The Above (NOTA) option, introduced for the first time in the history of Rajya Sabha elections while another lawmaker dropped a blank ballot paper in the ballot box.

Out of 276 legislators eligible to exercise their franchise, 248 cast their votes, while YSR Congress's 23 legislators, Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) four members and the lone CPI-M lawmaker abstained.

In Orissa, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) won three Rajya Sabha seats, but the opposition Congress managed to wrest one.

Panchayati Raj Minister Kalpataru Das, Textiles Minister Sarojini Hembram and former minister Ananga Udaya Singh Deo were elected.

However, eminent architect and sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra who was backed by the ruling party on the fourth seat, for which no party had the required numbers, lost.

The Congress fielded Ranjib Biswal, a former member of the Lok Sabha from Jagatsinghpur and the Indian Premier League chairman, against Mohapatra and won.

The nominees of the ruling Congress party in Assam and its alliance partner Bodoland People's Front (BPF) won the three seats.

The winners are state Congress chief Bhubneswar Kalita, Sanjay Singh, who is a Lok Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh's Sultanpur and BPF leader Biswajit Daimary.

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