Venkaiah Naidu, Oscar Fernandes, Mallya win from Karnataka; some Bihar MLAs defy party

A number of political, legal and business heavyweights made their way to the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, having won elections on party nominations from five States where there was a contest for 18 seats.

Ram Jethmalani, top criminal lawyer, won as an independent supported by the BJP from Rajasthan. Another successful independent was Vijay Mallya from Karnataka, who got the support of the Janata Dal (Secular) as well as the BJP; and there was M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) from Karnataka.

Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma (Congress) was elected from Rajasthan. So also were senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes from Karnataka and senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy from Bihar. The former Union Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Jan Shakti Party), won from Bihar with the support of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and some others.

Mr. Paswan had lost the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Hajipur and will now find himself in Parliament after more than a year.

The Congress, which has just 14 MLAs in politically fragmented Jharkhand, was able to get its candidate, Dhiraj Prasad Sahu, elected.

In Rajasthan, the former Union Minister and industrialist, Santosh Bagrodia, supported by the Congress as an independent, was defeated in a closely-fought election. The three-member CPI (M) group abstained.

According to reports in Bihar, a few MLAs of the BJP, the RJD and the BSP defied their party lines and voted for candidates of their choice. On Thursday, the poll was held for five seats in Bihar, four each in Rajasthan and Karnataka, three in Orissa and two in Jharkhand.

Though the Election Commission announced the poll for 55 seats from 13 States, including 6 from Andhra Pradesh (announced separately), the election in most of the States was not held as the candidates were declared elected unopposed.

Those who sailed through were Union Ministers Ambika Soni (Congress-Punjab) and Jairam Ramesh (Congress-Andhra Pradesh), Gandhi family loyalist Satish Sharma (Congress-Uttar Pradesh), Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (BJP-Uttar Pradesh) and senior journalist Chandan Mitra (BJP-Madhya Pradesh).

Candidates were elected unopposed in Uttar Pradesh (11 seats), Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra (6 each), Madhya Pradesh (3), Chhattisgarh and Punjab (two each) and Uttarakhand (1).

Patna Staff Reporter writes:

The expected candidates, including stalwarts like Mr. Paswan and Mr. Rudy, coasted to smooth victory in Bihar.

The sixth candidate, Karnataka-based businessman B.G. Uday, who entered the fray as an independent, was expected to queer the pitch while relying on support from the BSP and some other independents. He, however, conceded defeat even before the counting started.