The Telegraph

The Election Commission of India on Monday declared polls to 13 Rajya Sabha seats, including those of former Union ministers A.K. Antony, Anand Sharma and Ranee Narah of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal rebel Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

The list cludes five seats from Punjab, whose members will be chosen by the newly elected Assembly.

Because of President’s Rule in Punjab from 1987 to 1992 when elections did not take place, two cycles of Rajya Sabha elections happen on the same day.

The outgoing Assembly did not get to elect any members to the Rajya Sabha — and the validity of the terms of those elected is subject to a Supreme Court decision on a plea against a similar conundrum in Bihar’s Legislative Council.

Rajya Sabha MPs are elected for a six-year term and a third of Rajya Sabha’s members retire every two years. Dhindsa-led splinter SAD(Sanyukt) aligned with the BJP, and former CM Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress in recently concluded assembly polls.

Sharma’s seat in Himachal Pradesh is expected to go to the BJP which has a majority in the state. In Kerala, the current ratio of two seats in the current cycle going to the CPM-led Left Democratic Front, and one to the Congress-led United Democratic Front is expected to repeat. CPM’s Jharna Das is expected to forfeit the sole seat from Tripura to the BJP.

The term of Naga People’s Front’s K. G. Kenye also comes to an end. The peculiar nature of politics of the state is that there is no opposition and the NPF which was in opposition despite being the largest party is now part of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party led government. The state has also only one seat in the upper house.

Besides Narah from Assam, Congress’ Ripun Bora’s seat will also go to the polls on March 31.

Talks between the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front—who can get jointly get at least one candidate elected—have not yielded a consensus so far. The elected MPs will elect the President and Vice President, this year.

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