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Friday, April 10, 2020

Rajya Sabha elections: The vacancies, and what the polls are likely to produce

The strength of Rajya Sabha is 238 currently. In all, seven seats are vacant. Counting of votes will begin an hour after polls close on March 26.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Published: February 25, 2020 2:34:54 pm
Karnataka Scheduled Tribes list, Karnataka ST list amendment Rajya Sabha, list of groups in Karnataka ST, Express Explained These seats will be filled by representatives from 17 states. The terms of 51 members will end in April.

Elections to 55 Rajya Sabha seats will be held on March 26, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday (February 25). These seats will be filled by representatives from 17 states. The terms of 51 members will end in April. The other four seats are already vacant. The strength of Rajya Sabha is 238 currently. In all, seven seats are vacant. Counting of votes will begin an hour after polls close on March 26.

Rajya Sabha elections: Vacancies and states

Prominent among those retiring are Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh (JD-U), Union Minister Ramdas Athawale (RPI-Athawale), Congress veteran Motilal Vora, former Union Ministers Vijay Goel (BJP) and Kumari Selja (Cong), and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh.

As of now, the BJP has 82 Members in the Rajya Sabha, and the Congress 46. Of the retiring MPs, 18 are from the BJP, and 11 are from the Congress.

Seven of the vacancies will arise in Maharashtra, followed by six in Tamil Nadu, five each from West Bengal and Bihar, four each from Odisha, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each from Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two each from Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Jharkhand, and one each from Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Meghalaya.

Rajya Sabha elections: What can happen

Since Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by state MLAs, political parties with more MLAs are likely to send more MPs to the Upper House. Major changes, therefore, are expected in states that have seen a change of power in the last Assembly election.

Therefore, the BJP is expected to lose seats in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan where it lost state elections. However, it will gain in Uttarakhand and Karnataka, where it came to power in 2017 and 2019 respectively. Overall, the BJP’s current strength in Rajya Sabha will likely remain undiminished.

The Trinamool Congress and YSR Congress Party are expected to make significant gains in the 245-member Upper House after the elections.

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