The elections for the 18 vacant Rajya Sabha seats, which were deferred due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be held on June 19, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Monday. The elections to these seats were earlier scheduled to be held in March.
There are four seats each from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two from Jharkhand and one each from Meghalaya and Manipur. The voting for the 18 Upper House seats will begin at 9 am on June 19, the ECI said.
The Election Commission said that all the precautions related to the coronavirus pandemic will be taken during the elections. The ECI has asked the Chief Secretaries of the above states to appoint a senior officer to ensure that all the instructions regarding the coronavirus containment measures are followed during the elections.
There were 55 vacant seats across 17 states of which 37 candidates in 10 states were elected unopposed in March. The elections for the remaining vacant Rajya Sabha seats were to be held on March 26 but postponed as the government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic on March 24.
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Jyotiraditya Scindia, who ditched the Congress and joined hands with the BJP, will be among the candidates along with Congress leader KC Venugopal. While Scindia will be the BJP's candidate from Madhya Pradesh, Venugopal is contesting from Rajasthan.
There is a strong buzz in the power corridors of New Delhi that Scindia may be inducted into the Union Cabinet after being elected to the Upper House. The BJP is likely to reward him for revolting against Congress, which led to the collapse of the Kamla Nath government.
Another BJP leaders in the race for a place in the Narendra Modi Cabinet are Jharkhand state president Deepak Prakash and Abhay Bhardwaj from Gujarat. Bharadwaj was the defence lawyer in the 2002 Gulbarga Society massacre case.
The results will be announced in the evening on June 19 as counting for the Rajya Sabha and legislative council elections is usually held on the day of polling itself.