Voting for 16 Rajya Sabha seats in four states todaytext_fields
The Rajya Sabha is all set to go to the polls for 16 seats across four states today.
The four states include Maharashtra with six seats, Rajasthan with four seats, Karnataka with four seats, and Haryana with two seats. And the counting of votes will take place an hour after the polling concludes.
The elections in four States would be acid tests for leaders such as Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The 57 vacant seats were spread across 15 states. Of these, the BJP held 23 seats and eight were held by Congress. The rest were divided between the other parties.
The toughest contests are expected in opposition-ruled states like Rajasthan and Maharashtra, where both sides have corralled their MLAs to resorts to prevent poaching.
The maximum seats, 11, are located in Uttar Pradesh. It is followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu with six seats each.
Five seats from Bihar, four each from Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh, and three each from Madhya Pradesh and Odisha were also vacant.
Besides, two seats each from Punjab, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana and one seat from Uttarakhand are also vacant.
Prominent among those up for polls are Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal, Congress's Randeep Surjewala, Jairam Ramesh and Mukul Wasnik, and Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut.
In Maharashtra - where polls for Rajya Sabha are happening after two decades -- the ruling alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress and Sharad Pawar's NCP is in a tight spot after its arrested MLAs were not allowed bail for voting.
The BJP has managed to cross the 100-mark in the upper house, becoming the first party to do so since 1990. Still, the elections are expected to help it shore up its numbers ahead of the Presidential polls.