By G Krishna Mohan Rao*
New Delhi: Hectic political activity is being witnessed in all political parties over the June 10, 2022, Rajya Sabha elections as the nominations for the contest will close on May 31, 2022. States which are going to polls include Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and others.
As many as 57 Rajya Sabha seats, across 15 states, will go face elections on June 10. With the President and Vice President elections around the corner, these elections assume significance.
It looks that the major beneficiary in this round going to be the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules 18 states and has around 95 seats in Rajya Sabha. The Congress Party which has 29 seats in the 245 member Rajya Sabha may get around 10 seats, while regional parties may get more than 20 seats.
Besides Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Minority Affairs minister M A Naqvi, among those notables who are retiring next month include P Chidambaram (Congress), Ambica Soni (Congress) Jairam Ramesh (Congress) M J Akbar( BJP), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena), Praful Patel (Nationalist Congress Party) Revati Raman Singh (Samajwadi Party), Satish Chandra Mishra (Bahujan Samaj Party) Vinay Sahasrabuddhe( BJP), Suresh Prabhu (BJP), Prasanna Acharya (Biju Janata Dal) TKS Elangovan (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), Chhaya Verma (Congress), Vivek Tankha (Congress), Misa Bharati (Rashtriya Janata Dal).
Sitharaman and Naqvi are likely to be re-elected easily. But, for the Congress Party, it would be an uphill task to ensure the victory of several top leaders, who are in the fray.
The Congress Party is hoping to get 3 from Rajasthan, 2 from Chhattisgarh and one seat each from Karnataka, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh and depends on allies for another 3 seats in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Gulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, Ambica Soni, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, Pramod Tiwari, Rajeev Shukla, Ajay Makhan, Jitendra Singh, Randeep Surjewala and many others are seeking nomination to Rajya Sabha.
As usual, the major focus will be on Uttar Pradesh where 11 Rajya Sabha seats will have polls. The break up is BJP-5, Samajwadi Party (SP) -3, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) -2 and the Congress Party – 1. As both Congress and the BSP have been marginalised in the recent assembly polls in UP, the main contest is going to be between the BJP and the SP. Out of the 11, BJP may get 7 and SP may get 3, while there may be a fight for one seat.
It is a usual practice for the leaders to quit the parties for denial of RS nominations. Former union minister Kapil Sibal quitting Congress and seeking Samajwadi party support for Rajya Sabha is the latest example and many may be in the pipeline.
The Samajwadi Party has already extended support to Sibal who filed his nomination yesterday. The remaining two seats there are full of suspense. Sources say that party chief Akhilesh Yadav might prefer Jayanth Choudhary of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and Javed Ali Khan of SP. It is said that Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav is also aspiring for the seat from the SP quota.
With regards to Andhra Pradesh, all the 4 seats would go to the ruling Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSR- CP) led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who already announced all the 4 candidates, who are expected to win unanimously. Similarly in Telangana, two seats are vacant and both will go to the ruling Telugu Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party led by Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR. They also announced their two candidates and they are expected to win unanimously.
In Bihar, 5 RS seats will go to the polls. Out of 5, the BJP had 2, the Janata Dal (United) -2 and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) – 1. But the JD-U’s tally came down in the 2020 assembly polls which means it will get only 1 seat this time. So far CM Nitish Kumar has not announced support for party leader and union minister RCP Singh, who had moved closer to the BJP. In normal circumstances, RCP Singh would have got nominated for a second term but his problems with JD-U chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh may affect his chances this time in the elections. Added to this, it is well known that the relations between Nitish Kumar and the BJP are not as smooth of late. Of the 2 seats that the RJD had, one is most likely to go to Misa Bharati, daughter of party founder Laloo Yadav.
In Jharkhand, the Congress Party wants 1 seat from Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s JMM party quota besides the 1 seat that it will get on its own.
As the various political parties are still processing their candidates’ lists based on various permutations and combinations, no clear picture has emerged so far. The Election Commission stated on May 19, 2022, that the nomination for Rajya Sabha would commence on May 24 and end on May 31, 2022.