BJP Faces Challenge as Ten Rajya Sabha Seats Vacant Across Seven States

New Delhi, 13th June 2024: Ten Rajya Sabha seats across seven states have become vacant due to members being elected to the Lok Sabha in the recent general elections. Among these vacancies, seven were held by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two by the Congress, and one by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The states affected are Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Tripura, each losing one or two seats.

The Election Commission of India has not yet announced the dates for the Rajya Sabha polls to fill these vacancies. The upcoming elections are anticipated to be closely contested between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the opposition INDIA bloc, especially in Haryana and Maharashtra. In the other states, the BJP is expected to secure the seats without significant challenge.

Among the MPs vacating their Rajya Sabha seats are three Union ministers who were elected to the Lok Sabha in the recent elections: Piyush Goyal (Maharashtra), Jyotiraditya Scindia (Madhya Pradesh), and Sarbananda Sonowal (Assam). Goyal won from Mumbai North, Scindia from Guna, and Sonowal from Dibrugarh.

Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by state legislators through the proportional representation system using the single transferable vote (STV). The outcome depends on the number of MLAs supporting each candidate, though instances of cross-voting can influence results, as witnessed in Himachal Pradesh earlier.

In states like Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, the BJP holds a comfortable majority in the legislative assemblies, ensuring their expected victory in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. However, the situation in states such as Haryana remains competitive, with the BJP and the INDIA bloc nearly evenly matched.

In Haryana, where two Rajya Sabha seats are up for grabs, the BJP holds 41 out of 87 assembly seats. The Congress has 29 seats, while the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) led by Dushyant Chautala holds 10 seats. Independent and smaller party MLAs play pivotal roles in determining the outcome.

Maharashtra presents its own challenges, with coalition dynamics between the Shiv Sena and the NCP affecting the electoral strategy for the Rajya Sabha seats. The opposition INDIA bloc, comprising Congress, NCP, and factions of Shiv Sena, aims to capitalize on internal dissent within the ruling coalition.

The upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in these states are expected to be closely watched as they could potentially impact the balance of power in the upper house of the Parliament of India.