Rajya Sabha polls: Tight contest underway in 4 states
Elections are being held for 16 vacant Rajya Sabha seats in four states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Haryana. Forty-one candidates across the party lines from 11 states were elected unopposed to the upper house. Out of the total 57 vacant seats, 23 seats were held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and eight by the Congress. The rest were divided between other parties.
- The elections to the upper house of the Parliament are crucial in view of the upcoming presidential elections in July.
- BJP has already managed to cross the 100-mark in Rajya Sabha.
- These elections are expected to help it increase its tally ahead of the presidential polls.
- Since the 2017 presidential elections, BJP lost three states to the Opposition, namely Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu.
Uttar Pradesh had maximum vacant seats, where all 11 candidates won unopposed. The elected candidates include BJP leaders Darshan Singh, Babu Ram Nishad, Mithilesh Kumar, Radha Mohan Das Agarwal, K Lakshman, Lakshmi Kant Bajpai, Surendra Singh Nagar, and Sangita Yadav, as well as Samajwadi Party's (SP) Javed Ali Khan. The SP-supported independent candidate Kapil Sibal and Rashtriya Lok Dal's Jayant Chaudhary were also elected.
Of the total 57 vacant seats, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu each had six seats vacant. Bihar had five seats vacant, while Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh each had four seats vacant. Similarly, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha each had three seats vacant. Further, two seats each from Punjab, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana and one seat from Uttarakhand were also vacant.
Prominent politicians, who are going for polls on Friday, include Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal, Congress's Randeep Surjewala, Jairam Ramesh, and Mukul Wasnik, and Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut. Reportedly, the toughest contests are expected in the Opposition-ruled states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra. In these states, both sides have corralled their MLAs to resorts to prevent poaching.
In Maharashtra, the ruling alliance Maha Vikas Agadi is in a tight spot after jailed MLAs Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh were denied bail for voting. There will be a keen contest in Haryana due to the candidature of media baron Kartikeya Sharma, a BJP-backed independent candidate. In Rajasthan, the BJP's support for independent candidate Shubhash Chandra is likely to complicate the matters.