The keenest contest is happening in Uttar Pradesh where legislators and parliamentarians are voting to elect 11 members out of 12 contestants
GN Bureau | June 11, 2016
Voting to elect 27 Rajya Sabha members is underway across seven states as the ruling BJP is hoping to increase its numbers in the upper house of Parliament to enable it to push key legislations.
Thirty-one members have already been elected unopposed and for the rest of the seats BJP and Congress are pitted against each other in keen contests with both having wooed regional parties and independents in order to mop requisite support.
The election follows retirement of 55 members in the 245-member house and vacancies arising from resignation of three members. 31 members have been elected unopposed.
The keenest contest is happening in Uttar Pradesh where legislators and parliamentarians are voting to elect 11 members out of 12 contestants. Besides, election is also taking place for four each RS seats from Karnataka and Rajasthan, three from Madhya Pradesh, two each from Haryana and Jharkhand and one from Uttarakhand.
BJP has pulled all stops to get its members elected across these state so that it can withstand the pressure of Congress party in the Rajya sabha, where the later had an upper hand in terms of numbers. By all indications, Congress may lose the numbers but it will still remain the single largest party in the upper house of Parliament.
As part of its strategy to ensure defeat of Congress, BJP has fielded a number of independent candidates in the states where polling is taking place.
The keenest contest is a happening in UP where BJP seems to hell bent on ensuring defeat of Congress nominee Kapil Sibal. Congress has been assured of the support of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). However, it remains to be seen whether there will be cross voting against Sibal.
In Karnataka, five nominees, including three from Congress and one each from the BJP and Janatal Dal (Secular) are in the fray. Political bigwigs like Oscar Fernandes, Jairam Ramesh and KC Ramamurthy (Congress), union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and BM Farooq of Janata Dal (Secular) are contesting from the state.
Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP national vice president Om Prakash Mathur are contesting from Rajasthan.
In Haryana, BJP has fielded union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh and is also supporting media baron Subhash Chandra, who is contesting as an independent. Another key independent from the state is lawyer RK Anand, who is likely to be supported by opposition INLD and Congress parties.
In Madhya Pradesh, journalist-turned BJP leader MJ Akbar is party’s candidate. Earlier Akbar was a Rajya sabha member from Jharkhand.
Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is seeking entry into Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has fielded Basant Soren, son of party chief Shibu Soren. Congress is likely to support Soren.
Uttarakhand is also seeing an interesting contest between the Congress nominee Pradeep Tamta and two BJP members who are contesting as independents. The BJP does not have enough numbers in the state to see its candidates through. This will be the first showdown between Congress and BJP after latter’s failed efforts to dislodge the Harish Rawat government.
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