After the Election Commission decided to hold the pending Rajya Sabha polls, which were deferred in March to June 19, the poll panel announced on Monday that it will also hold Rajya Sabha polls for six additional seats whose members will be retiring either in June or July, taking the total number of seats to 24. The results will be declared the same day.
Four out of the six new seats are from Karnataka and one each from Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. The person holding the Arunachal seat will retire on June 23, while the four from Karnataka will retire on June 25. Rajeev Gowda and B.K. Hari Prasad are the prominent names among the four from Karnataka who will be retiring. The person holding the Mizoram seat will retire on July 18.
Earlier, the Election Commission had issued a notification on March 6 for filling 55 Rajya Sabha seats from 17 states. The polling was scheduled for March 26. The last date for filing nominations was March 13.
After the last date of withdrawal on March 18, a total of 37 candidates were declared elected, as the states from where they got elected saw exactly as many candidates as the number of vacant seats.
Those who made it to the Upper House in the first go included NCP President Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of State and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale (both from Maharashtra) and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh.
The elections for the remaining 18 seats were postponed due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown and the curfew that followed. Of the 18 outstanding seats, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat account for four each, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan three each, Jharkhand two and Manipur and Meghalaya one each. Now these six more seats will go to the polls along with the remaining 18.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, who defected to the BJP along with 22 MLAs and paved the way for the overthrow of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, is in the Rajya Sabha fray on a saffron party ticket from MP.
Also pitted in the contest is senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh. While both are expected to sail through comfortably, Sumer Singh Solanki of the BJP and Phool Singh Baraiya of the Congress will fight it out for the third seat. Congress’ prospects are marred by defections and continuing factionalism.
Similarly, Gujarat has four seats, while a total of five people are in the race, three on behalf of the BJP and two as the nominees of the opposition Congress. The BJP is working hard to pick up three seats, leaving only one for the Congress.
The ruling YSR Congress may make a clean sweep of all four seats in Andhra Pradesh. The Telugu Desam Party, with barely 23 people in the 175-member Assembly, is not in a position to garner the 36 votes needed for winning a single seat.
The JMM has fielded party patriarch Shibbu Soren in Jharkhand. The party has left the second seat for its ally, Congress. The BJP has put up its state president Deepak Prakash. The Congress may end up putting up a token fight.
AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal is the Congress nominee in Rajasthan. The BJP nominee is Rajendra Gehlot, senior party leader from Jodhpur.
In Manipur, the BJP has fielded former royal Leisemba Sanajaoba. The Congress has put up T. Mangi Babu. The BJP is certain to win the solitary seat.
In Meghalaya, ruling National People’s Party candidate Wanwei Roy Kharlukhi is expected to win by defeating Congress nominee Kennedy Cornelius Khyiem.