Keen contest in 4 states for 16 Rajya Sabha seats today: 10 points
Rajya Sabha polls: Two union ministers are among candidates on Friday - Nirmala Sitharaman from Karnataka and Piyush Goyal from Maharashtra.
A week after 41 candidates from 11 states were declared elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha, elections are set to be held for another 16 seats across four states - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Haryana - on Friday. The high-stakes polls have kept parties on edge amid reports of resort politics in the states. The entry of 57 new MPs - elected over two weeks - in the upper house of parliament is expected to change the current dynamics. The Election Commission has appointed special observers and ordered videography of the entire exercise. Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar told reporters on Friday: "We have appointed special observers in all the four places (states). The entire process will be videographed." Two union ministers are among Rajya Sabha candidates on Friday - Nirmala Sitharaman from Karnataka and Piyush Goyal from Maharashtra.
Here are ten points on the Rajya Sabha polls:
1. Maharashtra will see the contest on the highest number of seats on Friday with six seats going to polls. Hours before the elections, separate meetings were held by the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, as well as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
2. Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde, Dhananjay Mahadik (BJP), Praful Patel (NCP), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) and Sanjay Pawar (Shiv Sena) and Imran Pratapgarhi (Congress) are the seven candidates in the state, which is witnessing the election after nearly two decades. While the BJP MLAs have been lodged in Taj President in Cuffe, the Sena MLAs were lodged at Nariman Point.
3. Asaddudin Owaisi’s AIMIM has decided to back the ruling Maharashtra alliance. “To defeat BJP, our party @aimim_national has decided to vote for Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the Rajya Sabha elections in Maharashtra. Our political/ideological differences however will continue with @ShivSena which is a partner in MVA along with @INCIndia and @Maha_speaks_ncp. (sic),” party leader Imran Jaleel said in a tweet.
4. Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik and the state’s former minister Nawab Malik were denied bails on Thursday to vote for the Rajya Sabha polls. Both the leaders of Sharad Pawar’s NCP were arrested in corruption cases. The matter is expected to come up in high court now. The strength of the 288-member state assembly is down to 285 in the absence of two leaders and another seat left vacant due to Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke's death.
5. In Haryana’s 90-member assembly, former minister Krishan Lal Panwar has been fielded by the BJP, while Ajay Maken, a former union minister, is the Congress candidate. Media executive Kartikeya Sharma, an independent candidate, is being backed by the ruling alliance.
6. The BJP has 40 MLAs in the state assembly and the Congress has 31. BJP ally Jannayak Janata Party has 10 MLAs while the Indian National Lok Dal and Haryana Lokhit Party have one each. Seven lawmakers are independents.
7. Tension is also palpable in Rajasthan where resort politics is not new. Internet was reportedly suspended in Jaipur’s Amer ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls. Taking a dig at the Congress, BJP state president Satish Poonia tweeted the order saying, "Internet shutdown in Amber due to fear of paper leak." Four seats are up for contest in Rajasthan.
8. The state has a 200-seat assembly - the Congress has 108 legislators and the BJP has 71 seats. Media baron Subhash Chandra has been backed by the BJP while Ghanshyam Tiwari is another party candidate.
9. Karnataka is set to witness a contest in four seats. The BJP’s nominees are Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Jaggesh and Karnataka MLC Lahar Singh Siroya. The party has 121 legislators in the 244-member house. The Congress has 70 members and the JDS has 32 MLAs in the house.
10. Last week, 41 candidates had won without a contest in 11 states. The highest figure came from Uttar Pradesh that sent 11 candidates unopposed, followed by Tamil Nadu (6), and Bihar (5). Four candidates from Andhra Pradesh, three from Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, two each in Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Telangana and Jharkhand and one candidate in Uttarakhand have also been sent to Rajya Sabha without a contest.
(With inputs from PTI)