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Rajya Sabha polls for 59 seats to be held on March 23

Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan, JP Nadda, Thaawarchand Gehlot and Ramdas Athawale are among the members whose RS terms are ending.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2018 23:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rajya Sabha elections,Rajya Sabha seat,Election Commission
The EC also announced bypoll to a Rajya Sabha seat from Kerala. (PTI File Photo)

Elections for 59 Rajya Sabha seats that will fall vacant from 16 states will be held on March 23, the election commission announced on Friday.

The BJP-led NDA is likely to gain 10 more seats, taking its tally to 86 in the 245-member Upper House, but will remain short of the halfway mark of 123.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley, among other senior political figures, is set to be re-elected, while cricketer Sachin Tendulkar will retire.

The maximum number of seats (10) will be vacant in Uttar Pradesh, including the one vacated by Bahuja Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati who resigned from her seat. Elections will be held in six seats in Bihar and Maharashtra and in one seat in Kerala, which fell vacant after the resignation of MP Veerendra Kumar.

The ruling BJP, which currently has 58 members in the upper house, is set to gain from the latest round of biennial polls. The party’s victory in Uttar Pradesh coupled with strong presence in Maharashtra and Rajasthan are expected to add to its existing numbers in the upper house, giving it more voice to pass crucial bills.

The NDA is, however, likely to achieve a majority only in 2019. Still, with the help of parties that have traditionally supported it, such as the AIADMK and the BJD, the NDA could come close to the half-way mark.

As many as eight ministers including Jaitley, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar and health minister JP Nadda will be seeking a fresh term in the Upper House. BJP managers maintained that all these leaders will get a new term.

Nominated members , cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, actor Rekha and industrialist Anu Agha will also retire. In these seats, the BJP-led NDA will be able to nominate people of its choice. Nominated members can vote on all bills and resolutions but not in the Presidential election.

The 59 seats, elections for which have to be completed by March 26, will be vacated between April and May.

A gain in the Rajya Sabha will be a big boost for the government, which has often been embarrassed by the Congress-led opposition that has frequently stalled and delayed legislation.

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 20:33 IST