After the final nominations were filed on Friday, Biennial Elections for the 55 Rajya Sabha seats from 17 states will be contested on March 26, with a number of the contestants set to get elected unopposed.
Out of these 17 states, seven seats are from Maharashtra, four from Odisha, six from Tamil Nadu, five from West Bengal, four from Andhra Pradesh, two from Telangana, three from Assam, five from Bihar, two from Chattisgarh, four from Gujarat, two from Haryana, one from Himachal Pradesh, two from Jharkhand, three from Madhya Pradesh, one from Manipur, three from Rajasthan, and one from Meghalaya.
51 out of these 55 seats will fall vacant in April, due to the retirement of sitting members, while remaining four seats are already vacant due to resignation of members including Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, Union minister Ramdas Athawale of the RPI, Congress veteran Motilal Vora and former Union minister Vijay Goel.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, BJP’s newest recruit Jyotiraditya Scindia and Congress veteran Digvijay Singh are among those in the fray for the vacant seats.
After the resignation of former Union minister Birender Singh, a Bypoll seat from Harayana will also be contested.
Counting will commence on the evening of 26 March, an hour after the conclusion of polls.
But, all eyes will be on the Madhya Pradesh Political Crisis, where the Kamal Nath government faces a grim future following the resignation of 22 Rebel MLAs, as both the BJP and the Congress have announced two candidates each for the state’s three seats.
Scindia and Digvijay Singha are expected to win the seats, unopposed while BJP’s Sumer Singh Solanki and Phool Singh Baraiya of the Congress are likely to battle it out for the third seat.
Congress did appear to have an edge for the third seat but due to the resignation of its 22 MLAs, the battle is set to go down to the wire.
Most of these rebel MLAs are supporters of BJP’s newest recruit, Scindia.
Congress had 114 seats from 228-member assembly while it also enjoyed the support of four Independents, two BSP and one SP MLA. On the other hand, the official tally of the BJP in the 228-member assembly is 107.
BJP, which is the single largest party, have the majority in Lok Sabha, but it doesn’t have the majority in the Rajya Sabha.
As per the current strength of the Upper House, the ruling National Democratic Alliance holds 125 seats in the 245-member House. Of these, BJP holds 82 seats while seven seats are vacant.
The Opposition, on the other hand, holds 113 seats in the Upper House. Of these, 68 seats are held by the UPA parties, Congress has 46 while 45 seats are held by other parties which include the TMC, Samajwadi Party, TRS, and others.