Congress certain to win two of four Rajya Sabha seats in Rajasthan; efforts on to garner votes to bag third

The elections for Rajya Sabha are being held as 57 members from 15 states are retiring as their six-year terms are coming to an end

Indian National Congress flag
Indian National Congress flag

Prakash Bhandari

The ruling Congress is certain to win two of the four seats of the Rajya Sabha which are up for grabs in Rajasthan.

The four seats are falling vacant as the current members - Om Prakash Mathur, Harshvardhan Singh, Ram Kumar Verma, and K J Alphonse (all BJP) are retiring.

There are 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Rajasthan and currently, there are seven members from the BJP and three from Congress.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the AICC secretary (organization) KC Venugopal are the current members from Rajasthan apart from Neeraj Dangi.

The elections for Rajya Sabha are being held as 57 members from 15 states are retiring as their six-year terms are coming to an end.

The ruling Congress, which has a strength of 108 members, could easily win two seats with the BJP sure to win one seat.

There is going to be a tug–of–war for the fourth seat where the candidates will have to depend on the votes of the smaller parties and Independents for victory.

Both Congress and BJP are likely to field candidates for the fourth seat. Each candidate would require 41 votes to win the seat. The Congress, which has a strength of 108 members, would need a total of 123 votes to win the fourth seat.

There are 13 Independents, two Bhartiya Tribal party members, two from CPM, and a lone RLD member, Subhash Garg, who under an alliance with the Congress, is a minister of state in the Gehlot Cabinet.

Out of the 13 Independents, 11 Independents have pledged their support to the Congress for the Rajya Sabha election, one RLD member as an alliance partner would vote for the Congress candidate and it is likely that the party would be able to muster the support of the two CPM members also.

As far as the remaining BTP legislators are concerned, negotiations are going on.

There are two members of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, a party led by Lok Sabha member, and Hanuman Beniwal, a BJP rebel. Beniwal’s party had an alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha election but it broke away on the issue of the farmers laws.

Congress is also trying to get the support of the two RLP votes.

The BJP has a strength of 71 in the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha and for ensuring the win of a single candidate, it would require 41 votes and for winning the fourth seat collectively it would require 82 votes.

The BJP would try to garner the support of the remaining 11 votes from Independents and smaller parties.

President of the Rajasthan unit of the Congress Govind Singh Dotasara said that the Congress would surely win three seats as it has got the support of Independents and all MLAs of the smaller parties. He added that the party may even spring a surprise by getting some BJP votes through cross-voting.

The BJP is likely to field an outsider for the one seat that it is sure to win. The tenures of Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also the leader of the BJP in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister and deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman are ending and it is likely that the party would field them from either Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan or Chhattisgarh.

These three members are needed by the Modi government and are certain to be given another term.

The Congress is the only party in Rajasthan that has sent a number of women to the Rajya Sabha, in contrast to the BJP which has never sent any woman to the Rajya Sabha from the state.

The Congress has a record of sending eight women to the Rajya Sabha since 1952 from the state. Sharda Bhargava, who went to the Rajya Sabha, became the first woman to become a member of the Upper House of the state in 1952. She was elected to the Rajya Sabha thrice.

Similarly, Prabha Thakur was elected to the Rajya Sabha twice. Other women who were elected to the Rajya Sabha are Dr. Mangla Talwar, Ushi Khan, Laxmi Kumari Chundawat, Jamuna Barupal, Shanti Pahadia, Nazma Heptullah, and Narayani Devi.

The nomination process for the Rajya Sabha has begun but not a single nomination has been filed so far. The parties are yet to decide on their candidates and the picture would be clear by May 30.

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