Rajya Sabha elections: BJP likely to gain over 10 seats but the biggest battle will be in UP
In the poll for 59 Rajya Sabha seats on Friday, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to gain more than 10 seats but will remain short of the halfway mark of 123 in the Upper House.india Updated: Mar 23, 2018 10:04 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to become the biggest gainer from the latest round of the biennial Rajya Sabha polls on Friday and is likely to come within striking distance of being able to pass bills with the help of its allies and parties friendly to it.
In the poll for 59 Rajya Sabha seats on Friday, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to gain more than 10 seats but will remain short of the halfway mark of 123 in the Upper House. They currently have 58 members in Rajya Sabha.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley is among the senior political leaders set to be re-elected while cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s term comes to an end.
The biggest battle will be in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is eyeing a ninth seat in addition to the eight it is set to win. All six candidates in Maharashtra have been elected unopposed after the BJP withdrew its fourth candidate. Three seats have gone to the BJP and one each to Shiv Sena, Congress, and NCP.
The election for two Rajya Sabha seats has become eventful in Jharkhand with the ruling BJP fielding its second candidate, Pradeep Sonthalia, a businessman from Dhanbad, for the second seat against the Congress’s Dhiraj Sahu, a former member of the upper House.
Three seats fell vacant from Odisha, all of which were taken up by Biju Janata Dal (BJD). The ruling party in the state put up media baron and former MP Soumyaranjan Patnaik, an educationist Achyut Samanta, and former minister Prashant Nanda as its candidates — all of whom were elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha last week.
The most seats, 10, will be vacant in Uttar Pradesh, including the one vacated by BSP supremo Mayawati who resigned from her seat. Election will also be held in one seat in Kerala, which fell vacant after the resignation of MP Veerendra Kumar.
BSP MLA, SP MLA withdraw petitions
BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari and SP MLA Hari Om Yadav on Thursday withdrew their petitions seeking permission to allow them to cast votes in the ongoing Rajya Sabha election in UP. Allowing the withdrawal, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court dismissed the petitions of both MLAs.
The two had filed the petitions on Wednesday and special permission of the court was obtained for hearing the matter due to urgency. A bench of justice Prashant Kumar and justice Rajan Roy on Wednesday heard the matter and directed that the petitions would be heard on Thursday, permitting the state government to get details of the issue.
However, just as the judges came into the court room at 10.30am, senior advocate SC Mishra appearing for both the MLAs mentioned the matter and requested the court to allow him to withdraw both the petitions.
Mishra did not state any reason as to why and under which circumstances the MLAs were desirous to withdraw the petitions filed a day before showing utter urgency in the matter.
Advocate general Raghvendra Singh, who was present in court to place the stand of the state government, did not oppose withdrawal of the petitions. The bench accordingly dismissed the petitions as withdrawn.
In Telangana, BJP to stay away from RS polls
The opposition BJP said on Thursday it would stay away from Rajya Sabha polls being held on Friday to fill three vacancies from Telangana.
A decision to the effect was taken as per the directives of the party’s central leadership, state BJP president K Laxman said in a statement here. Election would be held to fill three vacancies and four candidates, three belonging to TRS and one Congress nominee, are in the fray.
With BJP and TDP deciding to stay away from the election, the TRS is expected to wrest the three seats as its ally AIMIM has announced support to the party.
(With inputs from PTI)