Rebellion by Congress MLAs in Haryana today helped BJP-backed Independent candidate Subhash Chandra score an upset victory as Congress stalwart Kapil Sibal pulled it off in Uttar Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha polls in which union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu, Birender Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and M A Naqvi won comfortably.
Senior Congress leaders Oscar Fernandes and Jairam Ramesh were elected from Karnataka where cross-voting by rebel JD(S) MLAs enabled ruling Congress gain a third seat. Former IPS officer K C Ramamurthy won the seat defeating JD(S)-backed Independent candidate B M Farooq, a businessman, in the third seat.
The major jolt for Congress came in Haryana where the party suffered through heavy cross-voting by its 14 MLAs that led to the defeat of the party-backed Independent candidate R K Anand who was mainly fielded by its arch rival INLD.
Subhash Chandra, a media baron, defeated Anand, a senior lawyer and a former MP, after 14 votes of Congress were rejected, state Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma told the media in Chandigarh.
Even before the elections, there was speculation that the overwhelming majority of the 17 Congress MLAs, owing allegiance to former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, would not toe the party line on supporting Anand.
The Congress also failed in its attempt to secure victory for JMM candidate Basant Soren, son of party supremo Shibu Soren, backed by it in Jharkhand where a ruling BJP nominee Mahesh Poddar won by a whisker after an arrested JMM MLA and a Congress MLA facing arrest could not vote.
In the 27 seats spread across seven states that were up for grabs today, 11 went to BJP, 6 to Congress, 7 to Samajwadi Party, 2 to BSP and one Independent. Thirty of the 57 seats in the current round of biennial elections were decided without contest last week.
Former union minister and Congress heavyweight Sibal managed to defeat BJP-backed Independent candidate and socialite Preeti Mahapatra, wife of a Mumbai-based businessman, without the anticipated support of BSP whose two candidates Satish Chandra Mishra and Ashok Sidharth won comfortably.
In Uttar Pradesh, all major political parties ensured victory for all their candidates despite cross voting.
The results showed that BSP, which had backed Congress RS nominees in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, chose not to transfer its surplus votes to any other party candidate in UP.
Besides Sibal, the others who made it to the Rajya Sabha from the state are two recent returnees to SP-fold Amar Singh, Beni Prasad Verma, Kuwar Rewati Raman Singh, Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, Sukhram Singh Yadav, Sanjay Seth and Surendra Nagar (all SP), Satish Chandra Mishra and Ashok Sidharth (both BSP) and Shiv Pratap Shukla (BJP).
Although Sibal got through, the 29-MLA Congress suffered a jolt with Sibal getting only 25 first preference votes despite 8-member RLD committing four votes each to Congress and SP.
There were 12 candidates for 11 Rajya Sabha seats in UP and to secure a seat in Rajya Sabha, a candidate required 34 votes.
Cross voting took place in today's polling as Samajwadi Party fielded seven candidates but the seventh candidate was short of nine first-preference votes for victory.
Although SP managed to ensure victory of all its seven candidates, only three were through in the first round of counting, reflecting that the contest was close for the ruling party.
Bahujan Samaj Party chose not to transfer its 12 surplus votes with it two candidates Mishra getting 39 votes and Sidhharth 42.
The last-minute entry of Preeti Mahapatra, wife of a Mumbai-based businessman, in the fray which forced a contest, managed just 18 first preference votes and conceded defeat even when the counting in further rounds was on.