While Rajasthan remains under a lockdown following the spread of coronavirus, uncertainty remains over the elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from the state, with BJP leaders demanding that the polls be postponed.
Leader of Opposition in State Assembly, Gulab Chand Kataria, said on Monday, “We have spoken to the Speaker that it is not easy to invite the MLAs and make them stay right now. Especially from places such as Bhilwara where public representatives might have come in contact (with coronavirus patients); although, right now, no MLAs have tested positive for coronavirus.”
“We have [former Rajasthan Chief Minister] Vasundhara ji in isolation. There is a Congress MLA who is also in isolation. So it is indeed difficult, but the decision has to be taken by the Election Commission, since it will be a national decision, not just for Rajasthan,” Kataria said.
Some within the Congress are also apprehensive. Expressing concerns over MLAs gathering at the Assembly to vote, Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh has said that he will not go.
Talking to The Indian Express, Speaker C P Joshi said, “We have an Assembly session scheduled for March 26. So even if we postpone it the election will have to take place. So we are waiting for EC to take a decision.”
The Rajya Sabha elections are scheduled for three seats in the state as BJP’s RS members Ram Narain Dudi, Vijay Goel and Narayan Lal Panchariya are set to retire next month. Voting is scheduled for March 26.
While the Congress is expected to win two seats, BJP is expected to sail through with one seat. BJP, however, queered the pitch for Congress by fielding two candidates: Onkar Singh Lakhawat and Rajendra Gehlot. Congress has fielded Neeraj Dangi and K C Venugopal.
Last week, the Rajasthan High Court had deferred elections for the six newly-formed municipal corporations in the state for six weeks following the coronavirus outbreak.
Rajasthan has ten Rajya Sabha seats and nine of them, including the three whose tenure is going to complete next month, are held by the BJP. The Congress’ only Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan is former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
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