Rajya Sabha polls: BJP working overtime to arrest decline in tally despite win in 4 states

What is the BJP’s plan of action to avoid losing seats in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls on June 10? Take a look.

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Rajya Sabha polls are scheduled to be held on June 10. (Photo: PTI)

With the stage set for a tight contest, the BJP holds 24 of the 57 Rajya Sabha seats scheduled for polling on June 10. Its allies JD(U) and AIADMK along with an independent (Haryana) hold 5 seats. In the aggregate, the BJP-led NDA (BJP+) holds 29 of these 57 seats.

Of the 41 seats in which winners have been declared unopposed, NDA has won 17, UPA 10 and non-aligned regional parties 14 seats - TRS (2), YSRCP (4), BJD (3), AAP (2) and SP+ (3; including Kapil Sibal).

NDA held 18 of these seats, so here it has registered a loss of one seat. Losses in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu made up by gains in UP and Uttarakhand are shown below.

16 seats go to polls tomorrow; Maharashtra (6), Rajasthan (4), Karnataka (4) and Haryana (2). The NDA holds 11 of these seats, three in Maharashtra, two each in Karnataka and Haryana and all four in Rajasthan. The UPA holds five of these seats - three in Maharashtra and two in Karnataka.

There are more candidates standing for these seats than on offer, hence forcing a contest. In Maharashtra, polling will take place for a Rajya Sabha seat after 22 years. Till now, MPs have been elected unopposed.

With its current strength in these state assemblies, the NDA has the numbers to sureshot win six seats (-5), two each in Karnataka and Maharashtra and one each in Haryana and Rajasthan. The BJP’s loss in Rajasthan state elections (2018) and a decline in tally in Haryana (2019) and Maharashtra (2019) is likely to catch up now.

To contain damage, the BJP has put up an extra candidate each in Maharashtra and Karnataka. It is backing two media barons (independents), one in Rajasthan and the other in Haryana, to exploit dissent in the local camp of Congress over outsider candidates, hoisted by the High Command.

Hectic parleys are on to win these extra seats utilising its surplus votes and garnering support of independents and smaller parties. MLAs from both camps have been moved to resorts. MLAs cross voting, disqualification of votes, MLAs abstaining, intervention of the courts - all could be witnessed in this potpourri.

Rajasthan - Subhash Chandra plays spoilsport

In Rajasthan, the BJP currently holds all the four seats. Congress has the numbers to win two seats, and the BJP one. For the 4th seat, BJP is backing media baron Subhash Chandra, currently RS MP from Haryana.

BJP has 30 surplus votes (71-41) while Congress has 26 (108-41x2). BJP-backed independent candidate needs an additional 11 while Congress needs 15 votes to win the 4th seat.

21 seats in the assembly are held by smaller parties like RLP 3, BTP 2 and Independents 13. 17 of these back the Ashok Gehlot led government in the assembly. The saffron party hopes some cross voting / abstaining and support of smaller parties / independents could help Chandra sail through.

Chandra has secured the support of three RLP MLAs while he claims to have the backing of 4 disgruntled Congress MLAs. His claim has been rubbished by Ashok Gehlot as well as Sachin Pilot.

Maharashtra - Fadnavis face off vs Uddhav before BMC Polls

In Maharashtra, the BJP holds three of the six seats up for re-election. The split with Shiv Sena and subsequent installation of the MVA government has made the contest interesting.

A party needs 42 votes to win one Rajya Sabha seat in the state. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress led Maha Vikas Aghadi government could win three while BJP could win two based on current strength.

For the sixth seat, the BJP has put up a third candidate as it has a surplus of 22 votes (106-42x2). The SHS-NCP-Congress combined have 27 surplus votes (153-42*3). Two of their MLAs are in jail and trying to get voting rights.

There are 29 MLAs belonging to smaller parties and independents. Some of them are with MVA and some with NDA as per claims. The decision of parties like AIMIM (2), SP (2), CPM (1), BVA (3) could decide the fate of the 6th seat.

Haryana - Factionalism in Congress key

In Haryana, of the two seats which go to polls, one is held by the BJP and one by independent Subhash Chandra, who has shifted to Rajasthan this time around. A party needs 31 votes to win a seat in the state. The Congress has the numbers (31 MLAs) to get its candidate Ajay Maken elected.

BJP with 40 MLAs can also get its candidate elected. However, the entry of media baron Kartikeya Sharma and son of former Congress leader Venod Sharma has made the contest interesting.

He enjoys the backing of BJP ally in government Jannayak Janata Party (JJP). Sharma hopes to get the support of 28 MLAs, 9 surplus votes of BJP, 10 from JJP, 9 Independents / Others.

Here, as well, all is not well with Congress with Kuldeep Bishnoi and Kiran Chaudhary not reaching the resort where MLAs were placed in Chhattisgarh. As per reports, Bishnoi met CM M.L. Khattar yesterday.

Karnataka - 2nd preference votes could come into play for 4th seat

In Karnataka, out of the four seats, the BJP and Congress currently hold two seats each. BJP has announced three, Congress two and JD(S) one candidate.

For the 4th seat, no party has the numbers and we could see massive cross voting here. A party requires 46 votes to win a seat. The BJP has 120 MLAs, so it can win two seats; Congress has 69 so it can also win one seat.

JD(S) has 32, Congress 23 and BJP 28 surplus votes each. The deal between JD(S) and Congress doesn’t seem to be finalised. With no party having the numbers, the elections could go to a complex process of 2nd preference votes. Some MLAs of JD(S) may even cross vote.

There are reports of dissatisfaction among a section of JD(S) MLAs over the selection of candidate who has declared assets above Rs. 800 crores.

To conclude, the NDA is expected to lose anywhere between two to six seats in elections for the 57 Rajya Sabha seats.