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Rajya Sabha elections in three states are going to be held on Tuesday with 15 seats up for grabs in three states – Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. The polls are anticipated to be highly competitive for three seats in two states governed by the Congress and one seat in Uttar Pradesh. Due to the fear of cross-voting in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, the Congress and Samajwadi Party are keeping a close eye on their MLAs. 

Resort Politics In Karnataka

Ruling Congress in Karnataka has relocated its MLAs to a hotel to safeguard them from external pressures. On Monday, the Congress shifted all its MLAs to a hotel, marking the beginning of the state’s trademark resort politics. All parties have issued whips to their MLAs ahead of today’s election. On Monday, Janardhan Reddy, Karnataka MLA and chief of Kalyana Karnataka Pragati Paksha, met CM Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM DK Shivakumar after he announced his support for Congress in the Rajya Sabha election. This further solidifies Congress’s winning chances. 

While the Congress had a smooth path in securing four of Karnataka’s three seats due to its numerical strength, the BJP-Janata Dal Secular alliance complicated matters by nominating a second candidate. If there were four candidates, each would need 45 votes to win; however, in the case of additional candidates, preference votes would come into play. The Congress with 135 MLAs has the exact number to elect its three candidates, Ajay Maken, Nasir Hussain and G C Chandrashekhar.

The entry of multi-millionaire real estate baron, D Kupendra Reddy, a Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP candidate has turned the elections to the fourth seat into a keen contest. Reddy, who declared Rs 1,200 crore assets in his election affidavit, has been fielded by the JD(S)-BJP combine. Reddy is confident that he will get the votes to win the election. Earlier, the Congress has complained that MLAs are being blackmailed to vote for Kupendra Reddy. A Congress delegation filed a complaint with the Bengaluru Police Commissioner. The BJP has 66 MLAs, which means it can easily get its main candidate, party worker Narayansa Bhandage, elected. Combined with the 19 JD(S) MLAs, the BJP-JDs second candidate Kupendra Reddy will need to get support of three Independents and get at least three Congress MLAs to cross-vote if he wants to win.

Khela In Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, the cross-voting fear has gripped the Samajwadi Party but the leading opposition party has maintained that all is well. According to Zee News TV sources, 8 to 10 of the Samajwadi Party MLAs may vote for the BJP alliance. The ruling BJP and SP had sufficient support to secure the unopposed election of seven and three members to the Rajya Sabha, respectively. However, the BJP escalated the competition by nominating Sanjay Seth, a former SP member and industrialist, as its eighth candidate. To secure an election, a candidate from the state requires approximately 37 first-preference votes.

Ahead of voting, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hoped that all three candidates of his party will win despite the BJP’s tactics. “BJP will do everything possible for victory. Some of our leaders who want personal gains can go to the BJP,” said Yadav expressing apprehension of the cross-voting.

The SP has put forward Jaya Bachchan, an actor-MP, retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan, and Dalit leader Ramji Lal Suman. This decision has reportedly caused a rift with ally Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) leader Pallavi Patel, who expressed disagreement with the choice of Bachchan and Ranjan and stated she would abstain from voting.

Congress’s Whip To MLAs In Himachal 

In Himachal Pradesh, the actions taken were not as extreme as in Karnataka. The party has warned its MLAs about the election of its lone Rajya Sabha seat.  The focal point of the Congress’ contest in the state is its senior leader, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, pitted against the BJP’s core committee member, Harsh Mahajan. The Congress enjoys a clear majority with 40 MLAs, while the BJP has 25 members. Three MLAs, including two BJP rebels, identify as independents. Sources indicate that the BJP is currently seeking to woo dissatisfied Congress MLAs. 

41 MPs Elected Unopposed

Elections were due for 56 Rajya Sabha seats but since 41 leaders were elected unopposed including former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Ashok Chavan, Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan, the elections are being held for 15 seats in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.