High drama is expected during the voting for Rajya Sabha elections where much is at stake for ace lawyer Ram Jethmalani, liquor baron Vijay Mallya and several others.
The 86-year-old lawyer is contesting from Rajasthan, but is a rank outsider. There is much discontentment in BJP ranks over his candidature. The party had to lock up its 79 MLAs to stop them from cross-voting. The numbers in Rajasthan are dicey and the BJP may need some help from Independents to see Jethmalani through.
Vijay Mallya is backed by the JD(S), but needs more votes and has struck a deal with the BJP for its 31 spare votes in the Karnataka Assembly. The Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa and a section of the BJP are extremely unhappy.
Anand Sharma is a minister at the centre but a rank outsider in Rajasthan. He belongs to Haryana, and has been politically active in Himachal Pradesh.
BJP hopes payback BJD and is still smarting from the royal ditch Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave the party ahead of last year’s Assembly elections.
Union Minister Anand Sharma, LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan, senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes and former BJP chief M Venkaiah Naidu are among the candidates whose fate will be decided in the biennial elections on June 17.