National parties battle, regional players keep their presence intact

National parties battle, regional players keep their presence intact

New Delhi: In the biennale elections to 57 Rajya Sabha seats this month, the tally of members elected from a regional party has remained largely unchanged, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress fought fiercely for the 16 seats in four states where polling was required.

Of the outgoing 57 members of the upper house, 25 MPs represented 12 regional parties, while one was elected as an independent candidate. After this round of polls, the tally stands at 24 members representing 13 regional parties, along with two independent candidates making it to the Rajya Sabha.

The two independent candidates are Kapil Sibal, elected from Uttar Pradesh with the support of the Samajwadi Party, and businessman Kartikeya Sharma backed by the BJP, who won narrowly in a tightly contested election in Haryana.

Among the regional parties, Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party emerged as the biggest gainer after this round of polls. All four candidates of Andhra Pradesh’s ruling outfit, seen as friendly to the BJP, were elected unopposed.

Tamil Nadu’s ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), an ally of the Congress, won three seats, same as Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD). While the six seats from Tamil Nadu that went to polls are now divided between DMK (three), AIADMK (two) and Congress (one), all three Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha in this round of poll went to the BJD, which has been in power in Odisha since 2000, and is also friendly to the BJP.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by K Chandrashekar Rao won two Rajya Sabha seats that went to polls from the state. In Bihar, Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) won two seats, same as the BJP, while Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) could manage to send only one MP.

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged two seats in Punjab, taking its Rajya Sabha tally to 10.

In Uttar Pradesh, both the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) suffered a loss of two seats each, with the latter drawing a blank in this round of polls. The SP managed to win one back and supported ally RLD’s Jayant Choudhury to the upper house, besides Sibal.

The Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) won one seat each.



    Saubhadra Chatterji is Deputy Political Editor at the Hindustan Times. He writes on both politics and policies.

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