RS Polls: Cong will vote against Subhash Chandra in Haryana

The Congress party in Haryana decided on Friday to queer the prospects of media magnate Subhash Chandra entering the Rajya Sabha. Its state assembly members are to vote for Chandra’s rival and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate, R K Anand.

Thirty of the 58 vacant seats of the Rajya Sabha in this round of biennial elections have already been decided, the candidates being elected unopposed. Voting for the rest is scheduled for Saturday and at least a couple of these seats, including Chandra’s, could turn out to be close contests.

Haryana has two Rajya Sabha vacancies and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's Birender Singh is sure to get one. The party has promised its extra votes to Chandra, chairman of the Zee media group.

A candidate needs 30 votes to win from Haryana and the BJP, with 47, has 17 extra votes. Chandra has claimed to be in contact with individual legislators of non-BJP parties for the extra 13 votes. The assembly has 17 Congress members, 19 of INLD, one each of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Shiromani Akali Dal, and five Independents.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Congress' Kapil Sibal, lawyer and ex-Union minster, had reason to breathe easy — BSP legislators are likely to vote for him on Saturday. The BJP is assured of one seat and its extra votes are likely to go to independent Priti Mahapatra. The Congress has 29 legislators and needs five more for Sibal to get elected. He could win if some of the BSP’s 12 extra votes are cast in his favour.

The Congress is also assured of support from four BSP legislators to its candidate, Vivek Tankha, in Madhya Pradesh. A Supreme Court lawyer, he needs only one extra vote. The BJP's two nominees are assured of victory in the three vacancies. It has fielded a third candidate, Vinod Gotia, against Tankha.

In Jharkhand, the BJP is assured of one seat but a united opposition could upset its plans to win the second one. Its Mahesh Poddar faces Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren’s younger son, Basant, for the second seat. Basant could win if Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal legislators support him.

In Karnataka, five Janata Dal (S) legislators have refused to vote for party candidate B M Farooq, giving the ruling Congress’ third candidate hopes of victory. Of the four vacancies, the Congress is sure of winning two and the BJP one.

In Uttarakhand, Congress candidate Pradeep Tamta is likely to win. In Rajasthan, the BJP looks set to win all four seats.

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