After weeks of high-pitched drama in Rajasthan, the elections for Rajya Sabha in the state eventually happened on expected lines. Of the three seats up for grabs, Congress won two and the BJP one. Congress general secretary KC Venugopal and party's state unit general secretary Neeraj Dangi won the elections and BJP's Rajendra Gehlot were elected to the Upper House of Parliament.
While Venugopal got 64 votes, Dangi won with 59 votes. BJP’s Gehlot received 54 votes and its second candidate Onkar Singh Lakhawat got only 20 votes. A total of 198 valid votes of a total of 200 votes were counted.
In the weeks leading up to the day of election, the Congress had accused the saffron camp of trying to poach its MLAs and destabilising the government, following which all the Congress MLAs were shifted to the JW Marriot hotel in Jaipur. Following suit, the BJP too levelled the similar accusations against the state ruling party and shifted its MLAs to Crowne Plaza hotel.
In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 107 MLAs and the support of Independent legislators and MLAs of other parties such as the Rashtriya Lok Dal, CPI(M) and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP).
Given the number of MLAs in the two parties, arithmetic was in 2-1 in favour of Congress. However, the BJP went on to declare a second candidate Onkar Singh Lakhawat, but could not muster enough votes in his support. The grand old party got a total of 123 votes, while BJP registered a total of 74 votes in favour of its candidates.
While the party general secretary KC Venugopal is considered close to the central party leadership, Dangi is the Dalit face of the party and believed to be a trusted aide of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
With Friday’s results, BJP now has 7 out of 10 Rajya Sabha members from Rajasthan, including party general secretary Bhupender Yadav, while the Congress has the remaining three, the third being former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.