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Snapshot of the Fight for That Final Seat in K’taka, Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan

With 41 candidates elected unopposed, action in Rajya Sabha elections has narrowed down to 16 seats across Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka – where voting began on Friday morning.

Close contests are expected on last seats and parties have been trying to keep their flock together. Five-star hotels and resorts have been in demand again as lawmakers are being sequestered amid fears of poaching. Both BJP and Congress have been holding talks with smaller parties and Independents to squeeze in the last seats up for grabs.

Of the four states in contention, Rajasthan is ruled by the Congress while Maharashtra has a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition headed by Uddhav Thackeray. Karnataka is BJP-ruled but the political equation in the state is as intense as it was in May 2019 when the JDS-Congress government was abruptly ousted from power.

The stakes in the RS polls were raised on Thursday with the Election Commission announcing the schedule for Presidential Elections 2022, for which voting will be held on July 18 and result will be declared on July 21.

Here’s a snapshot of the 16 Rajya Sabha seats in the fray, results for which will be known on Friday evening:

RAJASTHAN

Seats: 4

Congress candidates: Mukul Wasnik, Pramod Tiwari, Randeep Surjewala

BJP Candidate: Ghanshyam Tiwari

Independent Candidate: Subhash Chandra, backed by BJP and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party

Votes Needed to Win: 41

Bottomline: Of the four seats, the ruling Congress has clear win on two seats and the BJP on one. To win the last remaining seat, Congress needs 15 more votes and the BJP needs 11 more

MAHARASHTRA

Seats: 6

BJP Candidates: Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde, Dhananjay Mahadik

Shiv Sena Candidates: Sanjay Pawar

NCP Candidate: Praful Patel

Congress Candidate: Imran Pratapgarhi

Votes Needed to Win: 42

Bottomline: Coalition partners Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress can each get one candidate elected comfortably. The BJP is assured of the election of two candidates. That’s five of the six seats. The contest for the final seat is down between BJP’s Mahadik and Shiv Sena’s Pawar.

KARNATAKA

Seats: 4

BJP Candidates: Nirmala Sitharaman, Jaggesh, Lehar Singh Siroya

Congress candidates: Jairam Ramesh, Mansoor Ali Khan

JD(S) Candidate: D Kupendra Reddy

Votes Needed to Win: 45

Bottomline: Based on their strength in the Assembly, the BJP can win two seats and the Congress one. The fight for the fourth seat will see a direct contest between Siroya (BJP), Khan (Congress) and Reddy (JD-S). While Siroya and Reddy are short of votes from 13 MLAs each, Khan will need 20.

HARYANA

Seats: 2

BJP Candidate: Krishan Lal Panwar

Congress Candidate: Ajay Maken

Independent Candidate: Kartikeya Sharma, backed by BJP-JJP, Independents, Haryana Lokhit Party

Votes Needed to Win: 31

Bottomline: The ruling BJP’s Panwar will cruise comfortably through, but the contest for the second seat is tight between Maken and Sharma. Both need 30 votes to win and while the Congress does have 31 MLAs, Maken will be in trouble in case of cross-voting.

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