New Delhi: While Lok Sabha elections may be a year away, the Upper House of Parliament will see an electoral battle in a few hours from now. The elections and counting of votes for 59 Rajya Sabha seats, which fall vacant in April, will take place on Friday. The BJP has 15 Chief Ministers and is a part of the ruling coalition in 21 states. The party plans to make full use of its overwhelming numbers in the Rajya Sabha polls, in which MLAs form the electorate.
In August last year, the BJP overtook the Congress to become the single-largest party in the Upper House. Fifty-eight Rajya Sabha seats, in addition to one seat in Kerala which fell vacant last year, will go to polls today. News18 crunched the state-wise numbers, and this is what the Rajya Sabha will look like after Friday.
The value of each MLA’s vote is 100. The total number of votes required for a candidate to get elected to the Rajya Sabha is [(Number of MLAs X 100) / (Vacancies + 1)] + 1
Take UP, for instance. The state has 403 MLAs and a total of 10 seats will fall vacant in 2018. So, the number of votes needed is [(403 X 100) / (10+1)] + 1 = 3,664 votes. Since one MLA has 100 votes, a candidate from UP would require the support of at least 37 MLAs to win.
Uttar Pradesh (10 vacancies): 10 seats from Uttar Pradesh will be vacant in 2018 and the BJP will be in a comfortable position. A candidate from UP will require the support of 37 MLAs.
With 311 MLAs in 403-member assembly, BJP is assured of at least 8 seats. The Samajwadi Party (SP) with its 47 MLAs will be able to send a single member to the Upper House. However, if the factionalism within the SP refuses to die down till next year, the SP faces the risk of losing that position. It may then require the help of its alliance partner Congress (7 MLAs).
The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (19 MLAs) will not be in a position to elect even a single MLA, even if they were to join forces. In that eventuality, the BJP will walk away with 9 of the 10 vacant seats. However, if the Congress, BSP and both factions of the SP were to come together, they will be able to elect one more combined member to the Rajya Sabha, reducing the BJP to 8 MPs. The BJP’s alliance partner, the SBSP, has four seats in the assembly and has indicated that it will vote for an opposition candidate.
Bihar (6 vacancies): Six of Bihar’s 16 seats will go to polls this Friday. The JD (U) has 71 MLAs, the BJP has 53 and the single largest party is the RJD with 80. The total votes required to send a candidate to the Rajya Sabha is 3,472 or support from at least 35 MLAs. The JD (U) and RJD are in a position to elect two members each on their own respective strengths. The BJP can elect just one MP on its own. The Congress (27 MLAs) will be able to elect an MP with the surplus vote of its alliance partner RJD. The battle in Bihar is a balanced one and the NDA and UPA would each win three of the six seats.
Maharashtra (6 vacancies): The number of votes required for a candidate to represent Mahrashtra in the RS is 4,115 or the support of at least 42 MLAs. Individually, the BJP can elect 2 MPs and the Shiv Sena can elect one. If the alliance votes together, they can strategically use each other’s surplus votes to elect a fourth member from the NDA. If the Shiv Sena chooses to break ranks within the alliance, this would open up one seat for a contest. The Congress has just enough numbers (42) to elect one MP while the NCP (41) is one short. Congress will not have any surplus votes left to help the NCP, which may have to depend on smaller parties or independents.
West Bengal (5 vacancies): To be elected to the Rajya Sabha from West Bengal, a candidate will require the support of 50 MLAs. The Trinamool Congress has a brute majority in the house and with its 213 MLAs, it will be able to send at least four MPs to the Upper House. The second largest party in the house, the Congress, is far behind the TMC with 42 MLAs. The Congress has 42 MLAs, just short of the required number to elect an MP. It will require the help of either TMC’s balance 13 votes or the CPM’s 26 MLAs.
Madhya Pradesh (5 vacancies): 5 of MP’s Rajya Sabha seats will go to polls on Friday and to be elected, a candidate needs support from 39 MLAs. The BJP has nine more votes than the required number to win four out of five seats. The Congress, which has 58 MLAs, can easily drum up the numbers for the fifth seat.
Gujarat (4 vacancies): The Gujarat Rajya Sabha election last year, which saw dramatic scenes as senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel just managed to scrape through with a win, is unlikely to be such a close contest this year. After the recently concluded Gujarat Assembly Elections, the Congress has bettered its tally in the house.
Four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat are up for election this Friday and a candidate requires the support of 37 MLAs. With 78 MLAs, the Congress not only has enough numbers to elect 2 MPs, but it will also have four surplus votes left. The BJP, with 99 MLAs in the house, will have no problem in electing the remaining two seats. The Rajya Sabha battle in Gujarat will be, more or less, a contest of equals.
Karnataka (4 vacancies): Before Karnataka heads for elections, the state will see four Rajya Sabha seats heading to polls. A candidate requires the vote of 46 MLAs in the house to get elected. With 124 MLAs, the ruling Congress party will elect 2 MPs and have 32 balance votes left. The BJP (44) is two votes short of the required number but can pull off at least one win with the help of the JD(S) (39). The BJP, JD (S), BSRC, KJP and KMP have 90 MLAs, which is still two votes short of what is required to elect 2 MPs. However, the NDA may be able to pull off a second seat with the help of independents.
Andhra Pradesh (3 vacancies): The TDP announced it was breaking away from the BJP-led NDA but in the 175-member Andhra Pradesh assembly, the support of BJP’s four MLAs would not have changed the arithmetic anyway. The margin required for a winning RS candidate is 4,376 votes. At least 44 MLAs need to support a candidate for him or her to win. Three seats will be up for grabs on Friday. The TDP, with 102 MLAs, can elect two members. The YSR Congress has 67 MLAs and will be able to win the remaining seat.
Odisha (3 vacancies): The Biju Janata Dal has a majority with 118 seats in the Odisha assembly. To win one of the three Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha, a candidate needs the support of 37 MLAs. The BJD has enough votes to win all three seats.
Telangana (3 vacancies): Like Odisha and Andhra Pradhesh, Telangana, too, has three vacancies this week. A Candidate requires the support of 90 MLAs to win the election and with 90 MLAs in the state assembly, the ruling TRS has just enough numbers to win all three seats.
Rajasthan (3 vacancies): The political battle ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly polls may have heated up, but the BJP will face no problems in the Rajya Sabha elections from the state. 51 votes are needed for a candidate to win and with 159 MLAs, the BJP has more than enough numbers to win all three seats. The party, in fact, has six surplus votes.
Jharkhand (2 vacancies): The BJP, with 43 MLAs, has much more than the required 28 votes needed to win one seat. However, it will fail to win the second seat if it just gets the support of its ally AJSU, which has 4 MLAs. The JMM (19) may be able to win the remaining seat if it gets the support of the Congress (7 seats) and the JVM (P) (2).
Uttarakhand (1 vacancy): The hill state has a 71-member assembly and a Rajya Sabha hopeful would require 3,551 votes or the support of at least 36 MLAs. This will most likely be a no-contest since the BJP has a thumping majority of 57 MLAs.
Chattisgarh (1 vacancy): The number of votes needed to win the one vacant seats from Chattisgarh is 46. With 49 MLAs, the seat looks to be firmly in the BJP’s kitty.
Himachal Pradesh (1 vacancy): Another state where the BJP is likely to get an easy ride is Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP (44) has far more than the required number of MLAs needed (35) to elect a Rajya Sabha MP.
Haryana (1 vacancy): One RS seat will be up for election in Haryana and the number of votes required is 4,501 (46 MLAs). The BJP (47 MLAs) has a wafer-thin majority in the 90-member house and will need to keep its flock together to ensure it wins the Rajya Sabha seat from the northern state.
Kerala (1 vacancy): The number of votes needed to win the Kerala Rajya Sabha seat is 71 and the CPM-led alliance, with 90 MLAs in the Kerala Assembly, has more than enough numbers.