NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) has announced polls to 58 Rajya Sabha seats from 16 states which are falling vacant on April 2.
Currently, BJP 58 members in Rajya Sabha and Congress has 57 members (including nominated members) out of 245 members and its strength may come down to 49 from the current 57 as the party will likely lose nine seats in the House.
The voting will take place on March 23, the EC said.
Besides the biennial elections, the EC also announced bypoll to a Rajya Sabha seat from Kerala after MP Veerendra Kumar resigned in December. His term was to end in April, 2022.
“Quitting the upper house was only a “technical one. I do not want to continue as MP since the party at the national level led by president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has became part of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA),” Veerendra had said.
The BJP-led NDA is likely to gain 10 more seats, taking its tally to 88 in the 245-member Upper House, but will remain short of the halfway mark of 123.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, among other senior political figures, is set to be re-elected, while cricketer Sachin Tendulkar will retire.
The maximum number of seats (10) will be vacant in Uttar Pradesh, including the one vacated by Bahuja Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati who resigned from her seat. Elections will be held in six seats in Bihar and Maharashtra and in one seat in Kerala, which fell vacant after the resignation of MP Veerendra Kumar.
The ruling BJP, which currently has 58 members in the upper house, is set to gain from the latest round of biennial polls. The party’s victory in Uttar Pradesh coupled with strong presence in Maharashtra and Rajasthan are expected to add to its existing numbers in the upper house, giving it more voice to pass crucial bills.
The NDA is, however, likely to achieve a majority only in 2019. Still, with the help of parties that have traditionally supported it, such as the AIADMK and the BJD, the NDA could come close to the half-way mark.
As many as eight ministers including Jaitley, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar,petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan, health minister JP Nadda, Social Justice and Empowerment minister Thaawarchand Gehlot and Junior Social Justice and Empowerment minister Ramdas Athawale will be seeking a fresh term in the Upper House. BJP managers maintained that all these leaders will get a new term.
Nominated members , cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, actor Rekha and industrialist Anu Agha will also retire. In these seats, the BJP-led NDA will be able to nominate people of its choice. Nominated members can vote on all bills and resolutions but not in the Presidential election.
According to Network 18, The value of each MLA’s vote is 100. The total number of votes required for a candidate to get elected to the Rajya Sabha is [(Number of MLAs X 100) / (Vacancies + 1)] + 1
Take UP, for instance. The state has 403 MLAs and a total of 10 seats will fall vacant in 2018. So the number of votes needed is [(403 X 100) / (10+1)] + 1 = 3,664 votes
In Goa, the assembly has 40 members and its one Rajya Sabha seat will be vacant this year. So the formula for Goa would be [(40 X 100) / (1+1)] + 1 = 2,001 votes
Uttar Pradesh (10 vacancies): 10 seats from the state will be vacant in 2018 and the BJP are in a comfortable position. A candidate from UP will require the support of 37 MLAs. With 311 MLAs in 403-member assembly, BJP is assured of at least eight seats. The Samajwadi Party (SP) with its 47 MLAs will be able to send a single member to the Upper House. However, if the factionalism within the SP refuses to die down till next year, the SP faces the risk of losing that position. It may then require the help of its alliance partner Congress (7 MLAs). The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (19 MLAs) will not be in a position to elect even a single MLA, even if they were to join forces. In that eventuality, the BJP will walk away with nine of the 10 vacant seats. However, if the Congress, BSP and both factions of the SP were to come together, they will be able to elect one more combined member to the Rajya Sabha, reducing the BJP to eight MPs. The BJP’s alliance partner, the SBSP, has four seats in the assembly and after being miffed with the ruling party, has stayed non-committal about who it will support.
Bihar (6 vacancies): Six of Bihar’s 16 seats will go to polls this Friday. The JD(U) has 71 MLAs, the BJP has 53 and the single largest party is the RJD with 80. The total votes required to send a candidate to the Rajya Sabha is 3,472 or support from at least 35 MLAs. The JD(U) and RJD are in a position to elect two members each on their own respective strengths. The BJP can elect just one MP on its own. The Congress (27 MLAs) will be able to elect an MP with the surplus vote of its alliance partner RJD. The battle in Bihar is a balanced one and the NDA, UPA would each win three of the six seats.
Maharashtra (6 vacancies): The number of votes required for a candidate to represent Maharashtra in the RS is 4,115 or the support of at least 42 MLAs. Individually, the BJP can elect two MPs and the Shiv Sena can elect one. If the alliance votes together, they can strategically use each other’s surplus votes to elect a fourth member from the NDA. If the Shiv Sena chooses to break ranks within the alliance, this would open up one seat for a contest. The Congress has just enough numbers (42) to elect one MP while the NCP (41) is one short. Congress will not have any surplus votes left to help the NCP, which may have to depend on smaller parties or independents.
West Bengal (5 vacancies): To be elected to the Rajya Sabha from West Bengal, a candidate will require the support of 50 MLAs. The Trinamool Congress has a brute majority in the house and with its 213 MLAs, it will be able to send at least four MPs to the Upper House. The second largest party in the house, the Congress, is far behind the TMC with 42 MLAs. The Congress has 42 MLAs, just short of the required number to elect an MP. It will require the help of either TMC’s balance 13 votes or the CPM’s 26 MLAs.
Madhya Pradesh (5 vacancies): Five of MP’s Rajya Sabha seats will go to polls on Friday. To be elected, a candidate needs support from 39 MLAs. The BJP has nine more votes than the required number to win four out of five seats. The Congress, which has 58 MLAs, can easily drum up the numbers for the fifth seat.
Gujarat (4 vacancies): The Gujarat Rajya Sabha election last year, which saw dramatic scenes as senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel just managed to scrape through with a win, is unlikely to be such a close contest this year. After the recently concluded Gujarat Assembly Elections, the Congress has bettered its tally in the house. Four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat are up for election this Friday and a candidate requires the support of 37 MLAs. With 78 MLAs, the Congress not only has enough numbers to elect 2 MPs, but it will also have four surplus votes left. The BJP, with 99 MLAs in the house, will have no problem in electing the remaining two seats. The Rajya Sabha battle in Gujarat will be, more or less, a contest of equals.
Karnataka (4 vacancies): Before Karnataka heads for elections, the state will see four Rajya Sabha seats heading to polls. A candidate requires the vote of 46 MLAs in the house to get elected. With 124 MLAs, the ruling Congress party will elect 2 MPs and have 32 balance votes left. The BJP (44) is two votes short of the required number but can pull off at least one win with the help of the JD(S) (39). The BJP, JD(S), BSRC, KJP and KMP have 90 MLAs, which is still two votes short of what is required to elect 2 MPs. However, the NDA may be able to pull off a second seat with the help of independents.
Andhra Pradesh (3 vacancies): The TDP announced it was breaking away from the BJP-led NDA but in the 175-member Andhra Pradesh assembly, the support of BJP’s four MLAs would not have changed the arithmetic anyway. The margin required for a winning RS candidate is 4,376 votes, which is at least 44 MLAs. Three seats will be up for grabs on Friday. The TDP, with 102 MLAs, can elect two members. The YSR Congress has 67 MLAs and will be able to win the remaining seat.
Odisha (3 vacancies): The Biju Janata Dal has a majority with 118 seats in the Odisha assembly. To win one of the three Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha, a candidate needs the support of 37 MLAs. The BJD has enough votes to win all three seats.
Telangana (3 vacancies): Like Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, too, has three vacancies this week. A Candidate requires the support of 90 MLAs to win the election and with exactly that number in the state assembly, the ruling TRS has just enough numbers to win all three seats.
Rajasthan (3 vacancies): The political battle ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly polls may have heated up, but the BJP will face no problems in the Rajya Sabha elections from the state. 51 votes are needed for a candidate to win and with 159 MLAs, the BJP has more than enough numbers to win all three seats. The party, in fact, has six surplus votes.
Jharkhand (2 vacancies): The BJP, with 43 MLAs, has much more than the required 28 votes needed to win one seat. However, it will fail to win the second seat if it just gets the support of its ally AJSU, which has four MLAs. The JMM (19) may be able to win the remaining seat if it gets the support of the Congress (7 seats) and the JVM(P) (2).
Uttarakhand (1 vacancy): The hill state has a 71-member assembly and a Rajya Sabha hopeful would require 3,551 votes or the support of at least 36 MLAs. This will most likely be a no-contest since the BJP has a thumping majority of 57 MLAs.
Chhattisgarh (1 vacancy): The number of votes needed to win the one vacant seats from Chattisgarh is 46. With 49 MLAs, the seat looks to be firmly in the BJP’s kitty.
Himachal Pradesh (1 vacancy): Another state where the BJP is likely to get an easy ride is Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP (44) has far more than the required number of MLAs needed (35) to elect a Rajya Sabha MP.
Haryana (1 vacancy): One RS seat will be up for election in Haryana and the number of votes required is 4,501 (46 MLAs). The BJP (47 MLAs) has a wafer-thin majority in the 90-member house and will need to keep its flock together to ensure it wins the Rajya Sabha seat from the northern state.
Kerala (1 vacancy): The number of votes needed to win the Kerala Rajya Sabha seat is 71 and the CPM-led alliance, with 90 MLAs in the Kerala Assembly, has more than enough numbers.
Members’ whose term of office is expected to finish in April-May 2018:
- Joy Abraham, KC(M)
- Naresh Agarwal, SP
- Munquad Ali, BSP
- Jaya Bachchan, SP
- Dr Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, Congress
- Shadi Lal Batra, Congress
- Narendra Budania, Congress
- Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Indpendent
- Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Congress
- Vandana Chavan, NCP
- Dr K Chiranjeevi, Congress
- Renuka Chowdhury, Congress
- AU Singh Deo, BJD
- Anil Desai, Shiv Sena
- La Ganesan, BJP
- Thaawar Chand Gehlot, BJP
- Kunal Kumar Ghosh, AITC
- Devender Goud, TDP
- Vivek Gupta, AITC
- Md. Nadimul Haque, AITC
- Meghraj Jain, BJP
- Arun Jaitley, BJP
- Dr. Bhushan Lal Jangde, BJP
- Prakash Javadekar, BJP
- Vinay Katiyar, BJP
- K Rahman Khan
- Hishey Lachungpa, SDF
- Mahendra Singh Mahra, Congress
- Mansukh L Mandaviya, BJP
- Jagat Prakash Nadda, BJP
- CP Narayanan, CPI(M)
- Kiranmay Nanda, SP
- Basawaraj Patil, BJP
- Rajani Patil, Congress
- Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP
- Dr Mahendra Prasad, JD(U)
- Ravi Shankar Prasad
- Ramakrishna Rangasayee, BJP
- Ananda Kumar Rapolu, Congress
- Parshottam Rupala, BJP
- Anil Kumar Sahani, JD(U)
- Munvvar Chaudhary Saleem, SP
- Ajay Sancheti, BJP
- Tapan Kumar Sen, CPI(M)
- Rajeev Shukla, Congress
- Bashistha Narain Singh, JD(U)
- Sanjiv Kumar, JMM
- AV Swamy, Independent
- Dilip Kumar Tirkey, BJD
- Alok Tiwari, SP
- Pramod Tiwari, Congress
- DP Tripathi, NCP
- Shankarbhai N. Vegad, BJP
- Bhupender Yadav, BJP
- Darshan Singh Yadav, SP
Term of three nominated members will also expire by May:
- Anu Aga
- Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar