Published On : Wed, Jan 20th, 2016

With RS poll for 4 State seats in sight, race begins among aspirants

The term of BJP’s Piyush Goyal, Congress’ Avinash Pande and Vijay Darda and NCP’s Ishwarlal Jain is ending. The election for these four seats will be held most likely in June. With the sterling performance in the 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP and its partner Shiv Sena hold an edge over their rivals.

Nagpur: Even though mercury is going down and chill gripping the city again the political temperature is rising, albeit slowly and steadily. The winds of Rajya Sabha poll in the country in general and four seats in Maharashtra in particular have started blowing. And the speculations are at peak. The tenure of Rajya Sabha members from State, including Vijay Darda, Avinash Pande and Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar is approaching an end. With the sterling performance in the 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP and its partner Shiv Sena hold an edge over their rivals.

Now, election to four seats of Rajya Sabha is slated in the month of June this year. In the last poll, Congress had fielded two candidates from Vidarbha. The term of these two members is ending in July. However, it could not be assumed that both are not in the race again. Moves are afoot to gain entry in the Upper House of Parliament, at any cost. The Rajya Sabha members are elected by Assembly members (MLAs). The terms of BJP’s Piyush Goyal (Union Energy Minister), Congress’ Avinash Pande and Vijay Darda and NCP’s Ishwarlal Jain are ending in July. The election for these four seats will be held most likely in June.

Considering the numbers, the arithmetic is not in favour of Congress and NCP. Fighting the last Assembly election separately cost the two parties dear. BJP alone pocketed 122 seats and if the seats of Shiv Sena are added to the joint kitty, the number stands at 180. It clearly means the BJP and Shiv Sena have an edge over their rivals. Pande, with the backing of Mukul Wasnik, had entered the Rajya Sabha for the first time. On the other hand, Vijay Darda made it thrice, mostly with the support of independents.

In the present scenario, Congress has only 42 members in Assembly and the number can send only one Congress member to Rajya Sabha. Speculations are rife that one of the members is in contact with BJP for reentry into the House. If Congress denies the ticket, this member could possibly seat in Rajya Sabha as BJP man. On the other hand, NCP is short of one member against the Congress tally of 42. This party is also in a position to send only a member.
Similarly, the term of nominated member, Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar, is also coming to an end in March. Dr Mungekar, after his nomination by President of India, had joined Congress and is counted as the party member. But with the changed governments, both at Centre and State, it has now to be seen to whom the BJP nominates. If Vidarbha is kept in mind, Banwarilal Purohit and Datta Meghe could be in the race.

Interestingly, even if the numbers of Congress go down, the BJP-led NDA will not be in a comfortable position to pass the contentious GST and other bills.

The Rajya Sabha has a total strength of 245 members. At present, the Congress has 67 members, the BJP 48, the Samajwadi Party 15, the AIADMK, the Trinamool Congress and the JD(U) 12 each, the BSP 10 and the CPI(M) 9. But in this year’s biennial Rajya Sabha elections the Congress will lose at least 7 members and the support of 7 nominated members by March this year. The opposition numbers could dwindle to a level where they may well be irrelevant in the House which will have long term political repercussions.

The BJP is likely to gain in the form of seven nominated members. The seven members are to be nominated in April.