Rajya Sabha Elections: Tough Fight Today In Rajya Sabha Polls Amid Cross-Voting Buzz: 10 Facts

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The BJP is said to be banking on surplus votes from Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal

Election for 15 Rajya Sabha seats across 3 states will be held today amid concern about cross-voting by Congress and the Samajwadi Party MLAs. Three seats hang in balance — one each in Uttar Pradesh, Congress-ruled Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.

Here are 10 points on this big story:

  1. 41 leaders for 56 seats have already been elected unopposed. The list includes former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Ashok Chavan and Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L Murugan. For 15 seats, elections are due in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.

  2. In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has fielded eight candidates and the Opposition Samajwadi Party three for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats, setting the stage for strong contest over one seat. The focus will be on how many first preference votes the candidate gets – the magic figure is 37.

  3. The BJP is said to be banking on surplus votes from Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, which has joined the NDA in all but name. Leaders of the BJP have also claimed that at least 10 MLAs of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party are in touch with them. The SP – which is in alliance with the Congress — has staunchly denied it.

  4. The BJP has fielded former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, senior state leader Amarpal Maurya, former minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind) party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former MLA Sadhna Singh and former Agra mayor Naveen Jain. Its eighth candidate is Sanjay Seth — a former member of the Samajwadi Party and an industrialist.

  5. The SP has fielded actor-MP Jaya Bachchan, retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan and Dalit leader Ramji Lal Suman.

  6. In Karnataka, the ruling Congress shifted its MLAs to a private hotel on Monday to prevent undue influences — a situation that has seen multiple re-runs in the chequered politics of the state. State party chief and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar has denied any possibility of cross-voting by the party MLAs.

  7. In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has forced a contest on the state’s single seat by fielding Harsh Mahajan against Congress’s Abhishek Manu Singhvi. While the Congress has 40 MLAs to the BJP’s 25, the election will be seen as a prestige battle for Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

  8. Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by MLAs through the proportional representation process with the single transferable vote (STV) system. The MLAs have to list candidates in order of preference. Their first choice counts most — a candidate with the required number of first preference votes get elected, else the votes get transferred to their next choice.¬†

  9. The ruling BJP holds 28 of the 56 seats and is expected to have at least 29 after the election. In Uttar Pradesh, INDIA bloc will gain one seat as the SP is expected to improve its tally from one to two seats 

  10. Currently, the Rajya Sabha has a strength of 245. The term for Upper House MPs is six years, and elections are held every two years for 33 per cent of the seats.

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