The NDA’s quest to reach a majority in the Rajya Sabha especially to help its constitutional amendments go through smoothly moved a step closer with the latest round of elections to 19 seats in the Upper House. The ruling group at the Centre would still be short of numbers but that its objective is closer to fulfilment is clear from this round. While Rajya Sabha results conform largely to party strengths in individual states, this time around there was some cross voting, too. Stalwarts like Deve Gowda and Mallikarjun Kharge in Karnataka, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijay Singh in Madhya Pradesh won their seats in line with expectations. In Andhra, Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress made a clean sweep of four contested seats, denying a toehold to the Telugu Desam of Chandrababu Naidu. Though YSR Congress is not aligned to the BJP, it has been voting in favour of the BJP government at the Centre on most occasions.
Significantly, the lone Manipur seat was won by the BJP despite nine of its legislators having quit the party in the last few days. Apparently, the Congress gambit in engineering defections did not help in winning the seat. In neighbouring Meghalaya, the Congress was pipped by National People’s Party nominee which is a BJP ally. In Rajasthan, while two seats were won by the Congress, one was bagged by the BJP. Gujarat results were late in coming in but while the BJP was assured of two seats, a third seat seemed to be on the cards while second preference votes were being counted. In Jharkhand, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren won one seat while the BJP bagged the second one. All in all, the NDA is a gainer but most results are along predictable lines.