Rajya Sabha Elections 2020: Polling underway on 19 seats across 8 states
Polling took place in the assembly premises on Friday for three Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan each, four seats in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, two seats in Jharkhand
Polling took place in the assembly premises on Friday for three Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan each, four seats in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, two seats in Jharkhand and one seat in Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya.
Voting on 19 seats are being held across eight states and the result will be announced on June 19.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was the first to vote. There is a contest between four candidates for the three Rajya Sabha seats in the state. Former Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki are candidates from the BJP, while the Congress has nominated former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and Phool Singh Baraiya.
Based on the number of MLAs, two BJP members and one Congress member are expected to go to Rajya Sabha.
Voting was carried out following protocol in the wake of the Covid pandemic. Chairs were kept for the MLAs at prescribed distance while members also stood in the queue maintaining social distancing.
Members of the State Legislative Assembly were casting their votes at the polling booth set up in the committee hall of the Assembly at Velagapudi. The officials have arranged two compartments to enable the MLAs to cast their votes.
The polling, which began at 9 a.m., will continue until 4 p.m. The results are expected to be announced at 6 p.m.
While the election of all four candidates of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) was a mere formality, the entry of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the fray made the election inevitable.
Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and his cabinet colleagues were among the early voters.
Ministers Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose and Mopidevi Venkata Ramana, industrialist Alla Ayodhyarami Reddy, and Reliance Industries vice-president and sitting MP Parimal Nathwani are the YSRCP candidates. With 151 members in the 175-member House, the ruling party has required strength to ensure election of all four candidates.
The TDP fielded its general secretary Varla Ramaiah to force a contest. Though the main opposition party officially has 23 members, three of them have rebelled against the party and are sailing with the YSRCP.
TDP has issued a whip to all its members, including the three rebels to cast their votes for the party candidate. If the three rebels violate the whip, the party may use this to seek their disqualification.
The YSRCP too had issued a whip to all its Legislators. It has asked all MLAs to cast first-preference votes to the candidates.
Each candidate needs at least 36 votes to get elected. With 151 MLAs, the YSRCP is confident of winning all the four seats with first-preference votes.
As it is an open ballot election, where every member will have to show their vote to their respective party representative before dropping it in the ballot box. Assembly secretary and returning officer said that if any MLA failed to show his vote to the party representative it would be considered invalid.
The polling began at 9 am and will end at 4 pm. The counting will take place from 5 pm. The voting is underway at the ground floor of the South Wing of the state assembly which has been converted into a polling booth.
The election for the two RS seat was scheduled on March 26 but was deferred due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
For the two seats of the Upper House of the Parliament, a total of three candidates are in the race including JMM president and former Chief Minister Shibu Soren, state BJP president Deepak Prakash and Congress nominee Shahzada Anwar.
Going by the numeric strength, the 81-member Jharkhand assembly currently stands at 79 as Chief Minister Hemant Soren who won from Barhet and Dumka seats of Santhal Pargana and later resigned from Dumka seat, while the Bermo seat has fallen vacant due to sudden demise of Congress legislator Rajendra Prasad Singh. One candiate needs 27 votes on first preference to win the seat.
If the assembly strength is taken into consideration, Shibu Soren is all set to enter the upper house as JMM alone has 29 members. Or the second seat Deepak Prakash of BJP has greater advantage over Shahzada Anwar as BJP has 26 MLAs including Babulal Marandi.
BJP is also likely to get support of two legislators of the AJSU party. The poll managers of the BJP have also claimed support of independent MLAs Amit Yadav and Saryu Rai.
On the other hand, the Congress after demise of Rajendra Singh has been left with 15 MLAs in the House while Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey who had switched from JVM-P to Congress have been kept as Independent MLAs in the voter list. Other MLAs in the House who were eligible to vote included Binod Kumar Singh CPI-ML and Kamlesh Singh NCP, who will be voting for candidates of ruling coalition.
The state government has issued an SOP for the MLAs who will vote for the Rajya Sabha polls. There are five candidates for the four seats in Gujarat, and looking at the strength of the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress, it will be a tough fight for the fourth seat where every single vote will count.
To ensure that no party faces any disadvantage because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Health and Family Welfare Department has issued an SOP, so that even if a legislator is infected or is a suspect case, he/she is able to cast his/her vote.
The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat, Murali Krishna, has issued certain measures to be taken at the polling centre in the state Assembly building, located in the State Secretariat Complex here.
According to the CEO, the polling hall shall be big enough to maintain social distancing and there shall be proper arrangement of sanitisers. All the staff deployed in the polling centres shall compulsorily wear masks and before the polling process begins, the entire place will be disinfected.
To take care of all the precautionary measures, the state government, in consultation with the Health and Family Welfare Department, has appointed Dinkar Raval as the nodal officer.
Two separate waiting halls have been identified, one for the MLAs suspected to have contracted the virus, the second for the others. All those entering the state Assembly building, including the polling staff, voters (MLAs), candidates and party representatives, will have to wear masks and use hand sanitisers frequently.
The polling officer has ensured that there are adequate stocks of sanitisers, masks and other necessary equipment at the polling centre. The complex will also have adequate medical staff and ambulance.
All those entering the state Assembly building will be screened with thermal scanners. If anyone is found to have high temperature, he/she be separated and sent to the separate waiting hall escorted by the medical team.