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Explained: How are Rajya Sabha MPs elected? What are the stakes this time?

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The Rajya Sabha polls will see a change in the representation of the members of various parties in the House. Out of the 57 retiring members, 24 are from the BJP, while the Congress has 29 members.

New Delhi, Jun 08: The stage is now set for a fierce Rajya Sabha poll battle for 16 seats in 4 states - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Haryana.

Representational Image

The elections, were earlier, supposed to be held for 57 seats that will fall vacant due to the retirement of members between June and August on June 10.

With 41 seats already been elected unopposed, the contest will now be for 16 seats in four states.

So far, all the 11 candidates in Uttar Pradesh, 5 in Bihar, 6 in Tamil Nadu, 4 in Andhra Pradesh, 2 each in Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Telangana, and Jharkhand, 3 each in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha and 1 candidate in Uttarakhand won unopposed.

Out of 41 winners, 14 are from the BJP, four each from Congress and YSR Congress; three each from DMK and BJD.

AAP, RJD, TRS, AIADMK have managed to win two seats, while JMM, JDU, SP, and RLD won a single seat. Kapil Sibal, a former Congress leader who quit the party to contest as an independent candidate with the support of the Samajwadi Party was also elected unopposed.

So, now states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, and Rajasthan are likely to see a close contest as the two national parties, BJP, and Congress are engaged in a fierce battle to win maximum seats.

The Rajya Sabha polls hold significance as most of the new members who get elected are likely to vote in the President's election, due sometime in July.

What is the Rajya Sabha?

The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India. It is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. However, one-third of the members retire every second year and are replaced by newly elected members.

Each member is elected for a term of six years. The Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The House also elects a Deputy Chairman from among its members.

What is the maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha?

250 is the maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha, out of which 238 are to be elected and 12 will be nominated by the President of India. The Upper House of the Parliament currently has 245 members, including 233 elected members and 12 nominated.

Why is Rajya Sabha called a permanent body?

RS is not subject to dissolution; only one-third of its members retire every second year, to which elections will be held.

What is the term of a member of Rajya Sabha?

A Rajya Sabha member will be elected for a term of 6 years. If a member is elected in a by-election, he or she will serve only the remainder of the term of the vacancy caused.

Who is eligible to contest the RS polls?

The candidate "should be a citizen of India above 30 years of age and possessing such other qualifications as may be prescribed by the law of Parliament.

Why Rajya Sabha is important?

Rajya Sabha being a federal chamber enjoys almost equal powers with Lok Sabha, The first and foremost power of the Upper House is to make laws. The Indian constitution empowers parliament to make laws. However, this can only be possible, if the RS first passes a resolution by a two-thirds majority granting such a power to the union parliament.

Who can vote?

Unlike Lok Sabha elections, where members are elected directly by the people, the Rajya Sabha MPs are elected indirectly by the people's representatives, that is, by the MLAs.

How are members of Rajya Sabha elected?

Rajya Sabha members are elected by the elected members of the Assemblies of States and Union territories in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. Each MLA's vote is counted only once. The seats in Rajya Sabha are allotted are made on the basis of the population of each State.

So, in simple words, we can assume that political parties with a higher strength in the Lok Sabha will send more MPs to the Rajya Sabha.

For instance, if the ruling alliance is in control of 60% of the total seats and the RS polls are being conducted for 10 seats, the ruling party would win 6 while the Opposition would take four seats. But that's not all.

The Rajya Sabha elections are a little complicated.

During the election process, members must list the different candidates in order of preference from 1 to 10. If 10 or more members prefer a candidate as their first choice, then he or she will be elected.

While, the 'surplus' votes of MLAs are transferred to the next candidate. This allows MLAs to vote for candidates from other parties.

Fierce battles this year


Maharashtra is set for a keen battle between the Shiv Sena and the BJP for the sixth seat of Rajya Sabha. Four of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and three of the BJP withdrew their nomination.

This is crucial as the state is witnessing a poll battle in nearly two decades to the Upper House of the Parliament. The last such election was in 1998 when the Congress candidate Ram Pradhan had lost despite the party having enough numbers in its favor.


In Karnataka, six candidates are contesting for Rajya Sabha poll to four seats, necessitating a heated contest. Despite not having the required vote to win the fourth seat, the three prominent parties in the state, BJP, Congress and JD(S) have fielded candidates for the seat, forcing an election.


The contest is on for the four seats in Rajasthan. The Congress is eyeing three seats in Rajasthan and the BJP is hoping for a single seat and is supporting an independent and media baron Subhash Chandra for the fourth seat.


In Haryana, the battle is set for two seats. Congress leader Ajay Maken is fighting for one seat and the BJP has fielded a candidate against him. The saffron party is supporting another independent candidate and media baron Kartikeya Sharma for the second seat.

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