Rajya Sabha Elections for 19 seats across 8 states starts today

The Rajya Sabha elections for 19 seats across 8 states have started today (June 19). The Election Commission (EC) of India on June 1 had announced the date for the elections.  The elections were earlier scheduled to be held on March 26 but were deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The elections are to fill 19 seats in Rajya Sabha, out of which four each are from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, one each from Manipur, Mizoram, and Meghalaya, three each from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and two from Jharkhand.

The vote counting for all the 19 seats will be held in the evening today. Election Commission has made all the essential arrangements in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Votes will be screened for body temperature, will be required to use a mask and follow the social distancing norms. 

Elections for Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh:

In Karnataka, where the elections were to be held to fill four seats, all the candidates have been elected unopposed. These candidates are Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and BJP candidates Ashok Gasti and Iranna Kadadi. 

BJP nominee Nebam Rebia has also been elected unopposed to the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Arunachal Pradesh. 

In its earlier announcement, Election Commission had mentioned that Rajya Sabha polls for a total of six seats in Karnataka, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh will also be on June 19. With the upcoming elections, a total of 24 Rajya Sabha seats across 10 states will be filled.

Key Highlights:

The voting for Rajya Sabha elections has begun at 9 am and the vote counting will take place at 5 pm on the day of the election.

In its statement regarding the polls in 6 other states, EC had mentioned that voting to fill the seats will also take place on June 19 as the elected members to these seats will be retiring in June-July 2020.

The Election Commission announced the dates as the center had extended the lockdown till June 30 with relaxations in various states.

The EC also mentioned that the Chief Secretaries have been given the responsibility to depute a senior official to make sure that whether the instructions regarding COVID-19 containment measures have been carried out properly during the election preparations.

Election Commission also informed that the decision to hold the Rajya Sabha elections was taken after taking all the factors into consideration.

Rajya Sabha Elections:

The Election Commission had earlier issued a notification on March 6, 2020, in order to fill 55 seats in Rajya Sabha from 17 states. The commission scheduled the polling for March 26 and the last date for filing the nomination was March 13.

A total of 37 candidates were declared elected after the last date of withdrawal on March 18. The leaders who made it to the Upper House included Union Minister of State and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, NCP President Sharad Pawar (both are from Maharashtra), and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh.

Rajya Sabha elections for the remaining 18 seats, which were scheduled to be on March 26, were then postponed due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. Even with the elections being deferred, the poll panel had made it clear that the completed procedure, including the candidates' nominations, will remain valid.

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