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Venkaiah Naidu among 10 elected to Rajya Sabha

BHOPAL, JUNE 28. The Union Minister, Oscar Fernandes, and the BJP president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, were among the 10 candidates elected to the Rajya Sabha while the Congress' Kiran Chaudhary and the BJP's Shakuntala Hegde lost in a close contest today in the biennial elections. The Congress, along with its allies, will now have over 110 members in the 245-member House.

After the current round of elections involving 65 vacancies, out of which 55 were elected unopposed, the Congress will have 71 members and the backing of a dozen Left MPs. The Left and other allies will account for about 40 MPs.

The Opposition BJP and its allies will have around 70 seats. Other parties, including the SP, the BSP and independents, will account for about 40 seats.

Besides Mr. Naidu and Mr. Fernandes, others elected from Karnataka were B.K. Hariprasad of the Congress and business tycoon, M.A.M. Ramaswamy (JD-S). However, Shakuntala Hegde, widow of the veteran Janata Dal leader, Ramakrishna Hegde, lost to Mr. Hariprasad in the contest for the fourth seat.

In Haryana, the Congress suffered a setback in the defeat of its candidate, Kiran Chaudhary, who lost to an independent candidate and National Minority Commission member, Tarlochan Singh, on a day when the Supreme Court rejected the voting right for six disqualified MLAs supporting the party. The other candidate who won was Ajay Chautala of the ruling Indian National Lok Dal.

Pyarelal Khandelwal, the former Union Minister, S. Thirunavukkarasar, and Laxminarayan Sharma (all BJP) won from Madhya Pradesh, while the fourth candidate in the fray — Congress leader Aziz Qureshi — was defeated.

The CPI (M) candidate and CITU general secretary, Chittabrata Mazumdar, won the lone Rajya Sabha seat in West Bengal.

Elected again

The chairman and managing director of the Lokmat Group of Newspapers, Vijay Darda, has been re-elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. Mr. Darda was elected to the Upper House in 1998 as an independent candidate. This time, he has been elected unopposed as a Congress candidate.

PTI

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