Voting for 19 Rajya Sabha seats concludes
Polling took place in eight states simultaneously with key states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan voting for their Rajya Sabha members.
Voting concluded for 19 Rajya Sabha seats in eight state assemblies today with the Election Commission making special arrangements in light of the coronavirus pandemic. A concentrated effort was made to ensure sanitation and social distancing. MLAs were allowed to enter the assemblies only after thermal screening and separate entry and exit gates were arranged. Counting will get underway the same evening.
There was drama in Rajasthan assembly when BJP filed a police complaint against Congress MLA Wajib Ali alleging that he had returned from Australia just a day ago, and did not follow the coronavirus guidelines of 14 days in mandatory quarantine. Deputy CM Sachin Pilot rubbished these claims saying it was an effort to create confusion and spread rumours.
Eight states went to polls today – Four seats each from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two from Jharkhand and one each from Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram. 18 of the 19 seats are part of the 55 Rajya Sabha seats which fell vacant earlier this year. Out of these 55 seats, 37 were filled uncontested, including Karnataka where all four candidates have been declared elected unopposed.
In Gujarat, BJP has fielded three candidates and the Congress two for the four seats. The contest for the fourth seat is expected to come down to the wire considering neither party has the required numbers in the assembly. The situation is similar in Madhya Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, YSR Congress is set to win all the four seats just on account of its brute strength in the assembly. Its rival, the TDP, has no hope of winning even the single seat that it is contesting. In Mizoram, there is a triangular contest for the lone Rajya Sabha seat. The run-up to the elections saw some ‘resort politics’ with MLAs being sequestered in resorts to prevent them from being poached by opposition parties. Some of the new entrants in Rajya Sabha this year would be KC Venugopal, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mallikarjun Kharge. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief and former Union minister Shibu Soren is set to enter the Upper House for the second time from Jharkhand.