The biennial Rajya Sabha polls are underway for 58 seats of the 245-member House. This is likely the first time the polls are coinciding with the Karnataka legislative Assembly election, which is due by the end of May. In other words, the six-year tenure of Rajya Sabha members Rahman Khan (Congress), Rajeev Chandrashekhar (Ind), Baswaraj Patil (BJP) and Rangasayee Ramakrishna (BJP) will end on April 2, while the tenure of the 14th Assembly expires on May 29.
Voting began at 9 am this morning and will extend till 4 pm. Counting of votes will begin at 5 pm and the results are likely to be announced later this evening. There are five candidates contesting four seats from Karnataka. The Congress, which is in power in the state, has fielded three nominees, while the BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) have fielded one each. A candidate needs 46 votes to be elected to the Upper House.
The Congress, which has 124 MLAs in the 225-member legislative Assembly, can elect two members to the Upper House, i.e., 92 votes, with 32 votes pending. With the help of the seven dissidents from JD(S) and Independents, the Congress might be able to cobble up support to send a third candidate to the Rajya Sabha.
The BJP, which has 44 members in the state Assembly, is short of two votes to nominate its candidate to the Rajya Sabha. JD(S) has 30 members in the House, and may support the BJP’s pick.
Congress – L Hanumanthiah, Naseer Hussain and G C Chandrashekhar
BJP – Rajeev Chandrashekhar
JD(S) – B M Farooq
Congress: 124 MLAs in state Assembly
BJP: 44 MLAs
JD(S): 39 MLs
Votes needed for a candidate to win: 46
Congress is sure to send 2 candidates to the Rajya Sabha; BJP is short of two votes to send its candidate to the Upper House. The NDA alliance in the state may be able to elect another MP with the help of Independents.