Elections to fill 57 Rajya Sabha seats will be held on June 10 with the BJP’s tally in the Upper House to remain below 100 and the Akali Dal set to possibly lose its presence.
The Election Commission on Thursday announced polls to the seats that will be falling vacant due to the retirement of members on different dates between June and August.
Several members of the Rajya Sabha will retire between June 21 and August 1. The BJP currently has 95 MPs and the Congress 29 in the 245-member house. While 11 seats will fall vacant in Uttar Pradesh, six members each will retire from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, five from Bihar and four each from Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
Three members each from Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, two each from Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Haryana, and one from Uttarakhand will also retire.
Prominent among those retiring are Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Congress leaders Ambika Soni, Jairam Ramesh and Kapil Sibal, and BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra.
The notification for the polls will be issued on May 24 and voting will be held on June 10. According to established practice, counting will take place an hour after the conclusion of polling. Most of the new members who get elected are likely to vote in the election for the President, due sometime in July.
The BJP is set to suffer losses in Andhra Pradesh, where it has three outgoing members, and in Jharkhand as well as Rajasthan, but is hopeful of making up for it in states like Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The Congress’s tally in Rajya Sabha will dip after the forthcoming biennial elections to the Upper House, but more worrying for the party is the shrinking of its geographical footprint. The Congress will not have representation in Rajya Sabha from as many as 17 states and Union Territories.
The party’s tally in the Upper House was 33 at the end of March. While four members have already retired, nine more will retire in June and July.
The Akali Dal’s lone member from Punjab, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, and Congress’ Ambika Soni are likely to make way for members from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) whose huge strength in the Assembly will ensure that it wins both seats.
Five BJP MPs are among the 11 retiring Rajya Sabha members from Uttar Pradesh. The party, along with its allies, is in a position to win eight seats, while the opposition Samajwadi Party may retain its tally of three.
In Maharashtra, the ruling Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition has the strength to ensure its victory in all the three seats it holds, while the BJP can comfortably win two of its three seats. The elections are also likely to see the BSP’s presence in the Upper House reduced to one.