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RS polls: What’s happening in Gujarat, UP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra and Odisha

For the Rajya Sabha elections in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, all candidates have been declared elected unopposed. The biennial elections will be held on March 23.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2018 19:45 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Gandhinagar/Mumbai/Jaipur
Rajya Sabha Election,Rajasthan,Gujarat
A view of Parliament House ahead of the winter session in December 2017. (HT file )

Four candidates from Gujarat and three from Rajasthan were on Thursday elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha.

Two candidates each of the Congress and the BJP in Gujarat were elected unopposed days after the last moment entry of two nominees from these parties raised the prospect of a contest, while in Rajasthan, the three BJP candidates were elected as no other contestant had filed their nomination.

The BJP’s nominee for the Rajya Sabha polls in Maharashtra withdrew on Thursday, clearing the way for the other six candidates, including Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, to be elected to the Upper House unopposed on March 23.

Gujarat

Union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia (BJP) and Congress’ Naran Rathwa and Amee Yajnik were declared elected unopposed by the election authorities after BJP’s Kiritsinh Rana and Congress-backed Independent PK Valera backed off on the last day of withdrawal of nominations on Thursday.

A total of four seats were up for grabs from the state.

“BJP’s Union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia, and Congress candidates Naran Rathwa and Amee Yajnik are declared elected unopposed,” returning officer for Rajya Sabha polls, AV Karova, said.

“On the last day of withdrawal of nomination forms, BJP candidate Kirsitsinh Rana and Independent nominee PK Valera, along with other dummy candidates, withdrew their papers, leaving only four candidates,” he said.

The prospect of a contest came up when Valera, a Congress general secretary, and Rana filed their forms on the last day of filing of nomination papers on March 12.

On March 13, the BJP took objection to Rathwa’s candidature during the scrutiny of forms alleging that he had filed a “fake” no-dues certificate along with his nomination forms.

However, the returning officer overruled the BJP’s allegations and accepted Rathwa’s papers during scrutiny.

Unhappy with the officer’s decision, the BJP approached the Election Commission demanding the nomination of Rathwa be quashed because of “several irregularities” in his form. However, the poll panel ruled out any immediate intervention.

The election of two official nominees each of the BJP and the Congress was a forgone conclusion given the numerical strength of both the parties in the 182-member Assembly.

The ruling BJP has 99 MLAs while the opposition Congress 77. The minimum number of votes required per candidate is 38.

A controversy erupted August last when Congress veteran Ahmed Patel was seeking another term for Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

Patel struggled but managed to retain his Rajya Sabha seat against the backdrop of resignation and cross-voting by some Congress MLAs.

On the remaining two seats then, BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani won comfortably.

Rajasthan

BJP candidates — Kirori Meena, Bhupender Yadav and Madan Lal Saini — were declared elected unopposed after scrutiny of their nominations, secretary, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, Prithvi Raj, said.

He said that returning officer Akhil Arora declared the candidates as winner.

Meena had separated from the BJP in 2008 and rejoined the party on Sunday along with his two National Peoples Party (NPP) MLAs. He, as the state president of the NPP, which he had joined in 2013, also merged his party with the BJP.

Like Meena, sitting Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav and veteran party leader Saini were also in fray from Rajasthan.

Opposition Congress had announced that it would not field candidates for the biennial Rajya Sabha polls and no other candidates filed nomination for the election.

The tenure of Yadav and two Congress MPs Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Narendra Budania ends on April 3.

Maharashtra

The state’s parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat said on Thursday that Maharashtra State Commission for Women chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar had withdrawn from the fray, .

With the BJP nominee withdrawing her papers, the election of the remaining six candidates is a mere formality now.

The biennial Rajya Sabha (RS) elections will be held on March 23.

For the six RS seats falling vacant, there are four candidates from BJP and one each from Congress, National Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena.

“The BJP nominees include Javadekar, former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane and former Kerala BJP president V Muraleedharan,” Bapat said.

The list of candidates from other parties include senior journalist Kumar Ketkar (Congress), Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) and Vandana Chavan (NCP).

With this RS polls, the BJP is set to increase its tally from Maharashtra in the Upper House and also in the state Legislative Council, courtesy its improved strength in the state’s Legislative Assembly post the 2014 polls.

At present, the opposition Congress and the NCP hold two seats each, while the Shiv Sena and the BJP have one seat each of these six RS seats. The BJP, with its tally of 122 in the Assembly, is poised to get three RS seats now, while the Sena, the Congress and the NCP will get one each.

Uttar Pradesh

A day after the ruling BJP lost the bypolls to high-profile Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, its two candidates withdrew from the race for the Rajya Sabha elections on Thursday, leaving 11 aspirants in the fray for 10 seats.

“BJP candidates Vidyasagar Sonkar and Salil Vishnoi have withdrawn their candidature,” returning officer Poonam Saxena said.

Arithmetically, the BJP can easily win eight out of the 10 seats. The BJP and its allies have 324 seats in the 403-member Assembly after the death of its Noorpur MLA in a road accident recently. The party will be left with 28 surplus votes after ensuring the victory of eight candidates..

With 19 MLAs, the BSP is short of 18 first preference votes, and with Naresh Agarwal’s son Nitin, who is still an SP MLA, likely to cross-vote for the BJP, the task will become difficult for Mayawati’s candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar. A candidate needs 37 first preference votes for a straight win.

After the new found bonhomie with the SP, Mayawati is banking on the 10 surplus votes of Akhilesh Yadav’s party, besides seven votes of the Congress and one of RLD to reach the magic figure of 37 votes. However, Nitin Agarwal can play a spoilsport for the BSP if he votes for the BJP.

Naresh Agarwal, a Samajwadi Party heavyweight, who recently quit the SP and joined the BJP, had said his son would vote for the saffron party in the Rajya Sabha polls.

The country’s most populous state sends 31 MPs to the 245-member Rajya Sabha, and the BJP, which won a massive victory in the 2017 Assembly elections, is yet to get a lion’s share of these.

With 83 members in the Upper House, the NDA is well short of a majority. The BJP has 58 Rajya Sabha MPs.

The BJP candidates now left in the fray are Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav, GVL Narasimha Rao and Anil Kumar Agarwal.

The SP has fielded Jaya Bachchan and BSP Bhimrao Ambedkar.

Andhra Pradesh

Two candidates of the ruling Telugu Desam and one from the opposition YSR Congress were elected unanimously to Rajya Sabha in the biennial elections from Andhra Pradesh.

Election Returning Officer K Satyanarayana Rao announced the results after the process for withdrawal of nominations ended this afternoon.

TDP’s C M Ramesh, Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar and YSRC’s Vemireddy Prabhakar Reddy were elected to the three seats that fall vacant from Andhra Pradesh on April 2.

While Ramesh has been elected for the second consecutive term, Kumar and Reddy will be making their debut in the Upper House of Parliament.

The TDP’s strength in Rajya Sabha remains unaltered at six but the YSRC’s strength will increase from one to two consequent to this election.

Odisha

All the three Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidates -- Prashant Nanda, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Achyuta Samanta -- were declared elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha unopposed.

Returning Officer Rajesh Prabhakar Patil announced the names of the elected persons after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended this afternoon.

The nominations were scrutinised on March 13, when the papers filed by the lone Independent candidate, Subhas Mohapatra, were found to be invalid as he had failed to arrange for the required MLA proposers.

The opposition parties, the Congress and the BJP, had not fielded any candidate due to their inadequate numbers in the state Assembly.

While the BJD has 118 MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Assembly, the Congress and the BJP have 15 and 10 legislators respectively. As a candidate requires at least 37 first-preference votes to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from the state, the opposition parties had not fielded any nominee.

Three Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha will fall vacant as the tenures of BJD MPs Dilip Tirkey, A U Singhdeo and BJD-backed Independent member A V Swamy will come to an end on April 2.

Nanda and Patnaik received the certificates from the returning officer today after they were declared elected. Samanta, who was not in the city, would get his certificate of election later. Patnaik and Samanta had joined the BJD on March 7.

After his election, Patnaik told reporters, “I will raise the key issues related to Odisha’s interest in the Rajya Sabha. I will continue with my fight for the cause of farmers, language and prohibition of liquor.”

“I will work as per the instructions of the party and will raise issues related to Odisha in the Rajya Sabha,” actor-turned-politician Nanda said.

First Published: Mar 15, 2018 18:30 IST