Rajya Sabha Elections 2020 highlights: Elections for 19 Rajya Sabha seats, spread across 10 states were held on Friday which left the ruling BJP with an increased tally in the Upper House but still short of a majority on its own. However, the party added political heavyweights to the Opposition ranks.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won eight seats, the Congress won four. With this, the current strength of Rajya Sabha will go up to 244, of which BJP has 86 members — increasing its tally from 75 — and the NDA’s tally is expected to cross 100. The Congress has 41 while others have 27. Also, among the opposition parties, TMC retained their four seats, NCP its two seats, RJD got two and Shiv Sena one.
While the BJP will now have Jyotiraditya Scindia with it in the treasury benches, the Opposition side will have the experienced H D Deve Gowda, Mallikarjun Kharge, Digvijaya Singh and Shibu Soren coming in.
Voting was held in four seats each in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, three each in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two in Jharkhand, and one each in Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya. Voting for 18 seats was deferred due to the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The polls were originally scheduled to be held on March 26.
In states like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP further consolidated its position. In Madhya Pradesh, where the defection of Scindia with other MLAs into the BJP led to the fall of the Congress government in March, the BJP managed to win two seats, including Scindia’s. Congress veteran Digvijaya won from the state with the highest number of first preferential votes.
In Gujarat, since the Rajya Sabha polls were announced, the Congress saw the exit of eight of its MLAs. It cost the Congress one Rajya Sabha seat. The BJP, which had adequate numbers to win two seats, managed to win three of the four seats for which elections were held.
In Congress-ruled Rajasthan, the Congress retained its two seats and the BJP one. In Jharkhand the BJP and JMM won one seat each. The BJP won Manipur’s lone Rajya Sabha seat.
Keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had made separate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), including separate routes and waiting areas, for MLAs suspected to have Covid-19 arriving in the state for polling. The ECI has stationed paramedical teams at the polling centre. Masks, gloves and sanitisers will be made available at four-five places within the premises, including toilets, to be used by candidates, MLAs, polling staff and others present. The entire polling centre will also be sanitised before the process begins.
Editorial | Mess in Manipur
In the past few months, several MLAs switched sides, giving an interesting turn to the election. In Gujarat, the BJP fielded three candidates — Abhay Bharadwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin, while the Congress nominated two — Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki.
The elections were necessitated after the term of four MPs ended in April this year; three of them were from BJP — Chunibhai Gohel, Shambhuprasad Tundiya, and Lalsinh Vadodia — and one was veteran Congress leader, Madhusudan Mistry.
The election in Manipur was interesting following the resignation of nine members of the ruling coalition and the opposition Congress pressing for a no-confidence motion against the N Biren Singh government. The BJP had fielded Leisemba Sanajaoba, the titular king of Manipur, while the Congress nominee was T Mangi Babu. On Wednesday, three MLAs of the BJP resigned and joined the Congress, and four MLAs of the National People’s Party (NPP), an AITC MLA and an independent MLA withdrew support to the BJP-led coalition government.
In Karnataka, where elections were to be held for four seats, all the candidates — former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, BJP candidates Iranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti — were declared elected unopposed. BJP nominee Nabam Rebia was also elected unopposed to the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Arunachal Pradesh.
In Madhya Pradesh, both the BJP and the Congress had fielded two candidates each for the three seats. While the BJP’s candidates are former Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki, the Congress has named Digvijaya Singh and Dalit leader Phool Singh Baraiya.