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The contest has spiced up for the second seat with the entry of KartikeyaSharmaChandigarh: The stakes are high for the 16 Rajya Sabha seats spread across four states – Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka, with voting taking place on Friday. The votes will be counted at 5 pm.In Haryana, party leaders kept an anxious watch as there are three candidates for the two Rajya Sabha seats- BJP’s Krishan Lal Panwar, Congress’s Ajay Maken, and Kartikeya Sharma, an Independent.Congress leader Kuldeep Vats claimed that Kuldeep Bishnoi, who was reportedly miffed with the party for ignoring him in the recent reshuffle in its state unit, has voted for Ajay Maken.”I have voted as per my conscience,” Mr Bishnoi told reporters after casting his vote.Of the seven Independent MLAs in Haryana, six have voted for the BJP, claimed Randhir Golan. While one Independent, Balraj Kundu, said he has abstained from voting.”I’ll not vote for Kartikeya Sharma or any other candidate & remain ‘absent’ today. I’ll continue to stand with the people of Haryana. There is a ‘Mandi’ for buying & selling for MLAs here,” Mr Kundu said.Speaking to NDTV, Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda exuded confidence that party candidate Ajay Maken will win comfortably. The MLAs from Congress and the BJP-LLP, who were lodged in separate resorts fearing poaching, reached Haryana Assembly to cast their votes this morning.Haryana Congress last week had shifted its MLAs to a resort in Raipur, while the Congress legislators were lodged in a hotel at Chandigarh since Wednesday.The contest spiced up for the second Rajya Sabha seat from Haryana with the entry of Independent MLA Kartikeya Sharma, who is the son of former Union minister Venod Sharma and son-in-law of senior Congress leader Kuldeep Sharma.Mr Sharma has the backing of the BJP-JJP combine and Gopal Kanda, the lone MLA of the Haryana Lokhit Party. Indian National Lok Dal MLA Abhay Singh Chautala also on Thursday declared his support to Mr Sharma after a meeting of his party.In the 90-member Haryana Assembly, the BJP has 40 MLAs while the Congress has 31. The JJP, which is an ally of the BJP, has 10 legislators while the Indian National Lok Dal and Haryana Lokhit Party have one each, and seven are Independents.

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