Who is Kartikeya Sharma, who defeated Ajay Maken in RS polls?

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Chandigarh: The newly-elected Rajya Sabha MP Kartikeya Sharma, whose stunning victory has left the Indian National Congress (INC) red-faced, is an entrepreneur with deep pockets and, ironically, from a family with strong ties to India’s grand old party.

The 41-year-old Sharma, who went to Kings College London, was backed by the ruling alliance partners in Haryana, the Bharatiya Janata Party-Jannayak Janta Party (BJP-JJP) combine in what ended up being a nail- biting contest.

He defeated Congress’ official nominee Ajay Maken; the Congress has 31 MLAs in the 90-member Haryana assembly.

Kartikeya Sharma has also assets worth over Rs387 crore, according to his affidavit. He owns shares in Good Morning India Media Private Limited, Indi Media Company Private Limited, Direct TV Private Limited, Information TV Private Limited and a few other firms. He has 2.52-acre agricultural land in Samalakha, South West Delhi.

Sharma is the younger son of the former Union minister (and former Congress leader) Venod Sharma, who also served as Cabinet minister in Haryana when the Congress’ Bhupinder Singh Hooda was chief minister, and younger brother of Manu Sharma, who was convicted in the infamous Jessica Lal murder case.

The newly-elected Independent Rajya Sabha MP is a son in law of Haryana Congress leader Kuldeep Sharma, who remained Speaker of the state assembly when Hooda was chief minister. However, his father Venod Sharma ended a four-decade-old association with the Congress and formed the Haryana Jan Chetna Party in 2014.

Speaking to reporters after the results announced, Sharma thanked chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and BJP-JJP leaders for support; he also thanked Congress rebel Kuldeep Bishnoi whose vote tilted the contest in his favour.

“I’ve entered politics just 10 days back, but have experience in the field of education, sports and youth affairs, and I’ll work on these to raise the voice of Haryana in the Upper House of Parliament,” he said