Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Rajiv Shukla, Mukul Roy, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley were on Thursday elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha even as NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra in Jharkhand and Congress leader Abdul Mannan in West Bengal withdrew from the fray.
While most of the 15 States where the biennial polls to the Upper House are being held saw uncontested election of members, the two exceptions are Uttarakhand, where the ruling Congress will take on the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party for a lone seat, and Jharkhand where five candidates were left vying for 2 seats in the elections scheduled for March 30.
Hours before the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended, Mr. Anshuman Mishra, whose candidature was proposed by six BJP MLAs sparking resentment among the party's senior leaders, withdrew his nomination.
Mr. Mishra dropped out facing the prospect of defeat in the polls after several senior BJP central leaders revolting against his nomination, which reportedly had the backing of party chief Nitin Gadkari.
In Uttarakhand, decks were cleared for a showdown between Congress candidate Mahendra Singh Mahra, a confidante of dissident party leader Harish Rawat, and BJP nominee Anil Goyal, whose party colleague Naresh Bansal opted out of the race on the last day of the withdrawal.
The BJP is hoping to cash in factionalism within Congress especially in the wake of revolt by Harish Rawat, Union Minister, against the appointment of Vijay Bahuguna as Uttarakhand Chief Minister.
In Uttar Pradesh, all the 10 candidates, including Ms. Mayawati, BJP's Vinay Katiyar and actress Jaya Bachchan of the Samajwadi Party were elected unopposed.
With a strength of 224 MLAs in the 403-member Assembly, members, 6 members of the ruling SP have emerged victorious as have 2 of the BSP and one of the Congress.
Mr. Jaitley was elected from Gujarat for his third successive term in the Upper House from the State. Mr. Deshmukh and Mr. Shukla of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party's D.P. Tripathi and Vandana Chavan, BJP's Ajay Sancheti and Shiv Sena's Anil Desai were elected uncontested in Maharashtra where voting was averted by withdrawal of Pune-based builder Sanjay Kakade and Prakash Binsale, a third NCP candidate, from the fray.
In Madhya Pradesh, Najma Heptullah and cash-for-vote scam accused Faggan Singh Kulaste are among 4 BJP nominees elected unopposed besides the lone Congress nominee, Satyawat Chaturvedi, the party's spokesman. Superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi, former Union Minister Renuka Choudhary (both from the Congress) and former Home Minister T. Devender Goud of the Telugu Desam Party were elected unopposed in Andhra Pradesh along with three others.
Keywords: Rajya Sabha polls