Tough NDA Vs INDIA Rajya Sabha battle on cards in Maharashtra & Haryana. Explained in 5 key points

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Ten Rajya Sabha seats from seven states have fallen vacant after the members got elected to the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded general elections.  Of the now-vacant seats, seven were held by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), two by the Congress and one by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).Of the vacant seats, two each are in Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra and one each in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tripura.  

The Election Commission of India is yet to announce the poll dates for these Rajya Sabha seats. But clearly, it is going to be another interesting battle between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and INDIA bloc, especially in Haryana and Maharashtra. In the remaining five states, the BJP is expected to smoothly win the Rajya Sabha seats.

Also Read: Rahul Gandhi to relinquish Wayanad seat? Kerala Congress chief says, ‘can’t expect him to…’

Of the RS members vacating their seats, three are Union ministers —Piyush Goyal (Maharashtra), Jyotiraditya Scindia (Madhya Pradesh) and Sarbananda Sonowal (Assam) –  who were elected to the Lok Sabha after winning the general elections. 

Goyal won from Mumbai North. Scindia from Guna and Sonowal from Dibrugarh.  

The Rajya Sabha Elections 

Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by MLAs in states through the proportional representation process with the single transferable vote (STV) system. The MLAs don’t vote for each seat. Instead, the MLAs have to list different candidates in the order of their preference.

So, getting elected to Rajya Sabha will depend on the number of MLAs a particular party has in the state. There can be twists, however, if the MLAs cross vote, as it happened in Himachal Pradesh about four months ago. 

Also Read: Conviction of THESE 6 MPs of INDIA bloc can tweak Lok Sabha 2024 results in Uttar Pradesh

The BJP’s Harsh Mahajan pulled off a surprising victory in the lone Rajya Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh despite having only 25 MLAs in the 68-member Assembly in February. The BJP’s win resulted from cross-voting by Congress MLAs and a draw of lots that went in its favour. Mahajan defeated Congress party candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

BJP has numbers in these states

As things stand, the BJP has sufficient numbers in the Legislative Assemblies for Rajya Sabha seats in Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, unless there is a Himachal Pradesh-like situation. 

In Bihar, too, the BJP and the RJD will likely get one seat each based on the numbers that the NDA and INDIA allainces have in the state assembly.

The Haryana Scenario

The battle between NDA and INDIA bloc is likely to be interesting in two states -– Maharashtra and Haryana. Two Rajya Sabha members must be elected from Maharashtra and one from Haryana. 

The current strength of the Haryana assembly is 87. Of these, the BJP has 41 members, and the Congress party has 29. The Dushyant Chautala-led JJP has 10 MLAs. There are also five Independent legislators and one MLA each from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP). 

Also Read: Annapurna Devi as Union Women & Child Development Minister: Decoding the political significance in 5 points

If the support of independent MLA Nayan Pal Rawat and an HLP MLA Gopal Kanda is considered, the BJP’s strength goes up to 43 members. So BJP’s 43 against 44 MLAs of INDIA bloc, the opposition in Haryana assembly. 

Congress Hopeful

Under these circumstances, the Congress party is hopeful that if it gets the support of all the Opposition MLAs, it can defeat the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections. 

However, it is not going to be easy for Congress. As many as six JJP MLAs are upset with Dushyant. Two of them—Jogiram Sihag and Ram Niwas Surjakhera—have announced their support for the BJP. The JJP wants these two legislators to be disqualified under the anti-defection law.

The Congress has lost despite numbers in the past in Haryana. In the June 2022 Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana, the Congress nominee Ajay Maken lost despite the grand old party having adequate numbers in the assembly. 

The Maharashtra Conundrum

In Maharashtra, all is not well within the ruling Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – over the cabinet berths in the just-inducted PM Modi-led NDA government.

Also Read: A fiery debut session ahead for 18th Lok Sabha with stronger Opposition in place

The NCP was offered a Minister of State (MoS) post against its wishes for a Cabinet berth. The Shiv Sena has one MoS (independent charge) berth. It remains to be seen how these rumblings will affect the Maharashtra assembly during the Rajya Sabha polls. 

The opposition INDIA camp in Maharashtra comprises the Congress, the NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) and the Shiv Sena (UBT) led by Uddhav Thackeray. 

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Published: 13 Jun 2024, 09:37 AM IST

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