New Delhi, March 23: Twenty-five Rajya Sabha seats in six states including Uttar Pradesh will go to polls on Friday. Voting will start at 9 AM and will continue till 4 PM, as per the Election Commission. For the 58 Rajya Sabha seats to be filled, 33 candidates from ten states have been unanimously elected on March 15. Also Read - After Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha Passes NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021
For the biennial polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded 18 candidates. They include Anil Baluni, the national head of the BJP’s media wing, from Uttarakhand and Saroj Pandey, BJP general secretary, from Chhattisgarh. Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda has filed nomination papers as the BJP candidate from Himachal Pradesh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will contest from Uttar Pradesh and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from Bihar. Also Read - Lok Sabha TV, Rajya Sabha TV Merged, Channel Name Changed to Sansad TV
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot are also in fray for another Rajya Sabha term. Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Mansukh L. Mandaviya and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala will contest from Gujarat. Also Read - Budget 2021 Reflects Atmanirbhar Bharat, Not Opposition's False Narrative: Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha
The ruling party will also be supported by four-MLA strong Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and the Apna Dal (Sonelal) which has nine MLAs. Speaking to PTI, national president of Apna Dal (S) Ashish Patel said, “We are standing with the BJP. We had held a meeting of our MLAs and it was decided that we will strongly support the BJP.”
Meanwhile in the Congress, Naranbhai Rathwa and Amee Yajnik will contest from Gujarat and Dhiraj Prasad will contest from Jharkhand. Akhilesh Prasad Singh and Lekhram Sahu will contest from Bihar and Chhattisgarh respectively, while Rajmani Patel, Kumar Ketkar, Porika Bairam Naik and Abhishek Manu Singhvi are contesting from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and West Bengal respectively.
Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that the Trinamool Congress would back Singhvi. Mahendra Prasad Singh and Bashistha Narain Singh are the Janata Dal (United)candidates for the polls.
On the other hand, the SP and the BSP are certain about winning one seat each. Samajwadi Party has fielded Jaya Bachchan and the BSP, Bhimrao Ambedkar. The BSP has 19 MLAs. It is short of 18 first preference votes. With Naresh Agarwal’s son Nitin, who is still an SP MLA, likely to cross-vote for the BJP, the task will become difficult for the candidate of the Mayawati’s party. If reports are to be believed, Mayawati has sought a list of SP’s loyal MLAs who will vote for her BSP. She is also banking on some Independent MLAs who have not yet revealed their cards.
Counting of votes will begin from 5 PM onward and results are expected to be announced the same evening.
(With inputs from agencies)