New Delhi: The BJP made significant gains in the Rajya Sabha by winning 12 seats on Saturday, thus marginally narrowing the gap with the opposition Congress in the upper house where the ruling party is in a minority.
At the end of the voting for 27 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Haryana and Karnataka, the Congress won six, the Samajwadi Party seven and the Bahujan Samaj Party two.
A total of 58 Rajya Sabha seats from 16 states were vacant for the last two months. Thirty candidates were elected unopposed last month.
The BJP made a clean sweep in Rajasthan where all its four candidates, including Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and senior leader Om Prakash Mathur, were elected. Harshvardhan Singh and Ramkumar Verma were the other two BJP winners.
The BJP clinched both seats - union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Mahesh Podaar - in Jharkhand amid allegations of cross-voting that helped it to defeat a supposedly united opposition in the state.
"The BJP is murdering democracy. Money power played a key role in the Rajya Sabha poll," JVM-P President Babulal Marandi said, after the polls triggered controvery.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP won two seats and the Congress one. The BJP winners were former journalist M.J. Akbar and Anil Madhav Dave. The Congress candidate was Vivek Tankha
Union minister Birender Singh won comfortably in Haryana.
But the surprise victory in the state was BJP-backed media baron Subhash Chandra. Thirteen votes of Congress legislators were rejected, handing over the victory to Chandra. He defeated Delhi-based lawyer and Congress and INLD-supported candidate R.K. Anand.
In Karnataka, Union Minister for Industries and Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman won for the BJP while the ruling Congress got three seats. The Congress winners were its stalwarts Oscar Fernandes, Jairam Ramesh and K.C. Ramamurthy.
In Uttar Pradesh, all seven candidates of the ruling Samajwadi Party won easily. The winners included two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidates while one seat each went to the BJP and the Congress.
The victorious candidates include Amar Singh, Beni Prasad Verma, Sanjay Seth, Reoti Raman Singh, Sukhram Yadav, Surender Nagar and Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of the SP. Satish Mishra and Ashok Siddhartha won for the BSP while Shiv Pratap Shukla won on the BJP ticket. Kapil Sibal was the sole Congress winner.
In Uttarakhand, Congress candidate Pradeep Tamta was declared elected for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the hill state despite strong differences of opinion within the party over his candidature.