THE ELECTION Commission (EC) on Friday announced biennial polls to 58 Rajya Sabha seats from 16 states, including constituencies represented by cabinet ministers Arun Jaitley, Dharmendra Pradhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, J P Nadda and Thaawar Chand Gehlot. Voting will be held on March 23 and the results will be announced the same day. The EC will also hold a by-poll to fill the Kerala seat that was represented by JD(U) leader Veerendra Kumar, who resigned in December in protest against his party’s decision to support the NDA.
Of the 58 Rajya Sabha seats going to polls, Uttar Pradesh accounts for 10. Samajwadi Party, which currently has 18 members in the Upper House, is set to lose five of its six seats up for polls — this means its tally will come down to 13. The Congress is set to lose its solitary seat from UP. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which was down one seat following Mayawati’s resignation, is set to lose one more and will be left with four. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to win eight UP seats, seven up from its previous tally. The combined Opposition can grab the tenth seat by pooling votes. The return of Mayawati is, therefore, possible, but only if Akhilesh Yadav transfers surplus SP votes to her and Congress comes along.
Other states from where Rajya Sabha MPs are retiring are Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana and Rajasthan, (three each), Bihar and Maharashtra (six each), West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh (five each), Karnataka and Gujarat (four each), Jharkhand (two), and Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand (one each).