Rajya Sabha polls: Sharad Pawar, Ramdas Athawale and several others win unopposed; Rajasthan set for tough fight for 3 seats

Several candidates for Rajya Sabha, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Union minister of state for social justice Ramdas Athawale, and deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh won unopposed on Wednesday with no nominations filed against them

FP Staff March 18, 2020 21:06:03 IST
Rajya Sabha polls: Sharad Pawar, Ramdas Athawale and several others win unopposed; Rajasthan set for tough fight for 3 seats

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale were among several candidates who won the election to Rajya Sabha, unopposed on Wednesday. With no nominations filed against them and the last date for withdrawal of nomination ending at 3 pm today, at least 21 leaders from across six states won these polls unopposed.

Maharashtra saw the maximum of seven candidates winning unopposed on Wednesday, while five won from Bihar and West Bengal each, four from Odisha, three from Haryana, and two From Chhattisgarh, among others.

Rajya Sabha polls Sharad Pawar Ramdas Athawale and several others win unopposed Rajasthan set for tough fight for 3 seats

File image of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Reuters

Some of the other prominent leaders who won the election to Upper House of the Parliament were deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh. Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda, BJP's Indu Goswami from Himachal Pradesh and BJD leader Munna Khan, were also declared winners unopposed, among others.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan will see a tough fight for three seats on 26 March when elections are held as none of the four candidates in the fray withdrew their nomination.

All 5 in Bihar win unopposed

All five candidates for as many Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar were on Wednesday declared elected unopposed as no other nominations were filed, an official said.

Bihar Assembly secretary-cum-returning officer Bateshwar Nath Pandey told PTI that certificates were handed over to all the five candidates after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers at 3 pm.

Two candidates each were from the Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and one from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Elections were necessitated for the seats as they were falling vacant next month upon the expiry of term of the sitting members all of whom belonged to the JD(U)-BJP combine in the state.

The JD(U) candidates were Harivansh, who is currently the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and Ram Nath Thakur. They will serve a second consecutive term.

Harivansh is a veteran journalist, who has edited the Prabhat Khabar for long and is considered a confidant of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the JD(U)'s national president.

Ram Nath Thakur is the son of former chief minister Karpoori Thakur, arguably the tallest OBC leader from Bihar whom Kumar and other socialist leaders of his generation consider their political guru.

BJP candidate Vivek Thakur, a former MLC who makes his parliamentary debut, is the son of former Union minister CP Thakur, whose Rajya Sabha tenure ends next month.

The RJD candidates are Prem Chand Gupta and Amarendra Dhari Singh.

Gupta, who is a close aide of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, hails from Haryana and had served as a minister in the UPA-I government at the Centre.

Singh, who is an entrepreneur, is not known for prior involvement in politics.

His candidature had caused much bewilderment in the five-party grand alliance headed by the RJD, one reason being that he is a Bhumihar, the upper caste known to be most vocally opposed to Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar.

Sharad, Pawar, Ramdas Athawale win unopposed in Maharashtra

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Union minister of state for social justice Ramdas Athawale were on Wednesday elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha.

Also elected unopposed to the Upper House were NCP leader and former minister Fauziya Khan, Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi, former Congress MP Rajiv Satav and BJP's Udayanraje Bhosale and Bhagwat Karad.

On the basis of their strength, the three ruling parties (Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress) fielded four candidates, while the main Opposition party BJP fielded three candidates, leaving little chance for an additional candidate in the fray.

Independent candidate Rakesh Chavan filed his papers on the last day of filing nomination on Friday but it was rejected later during scrutiny.

The biennial elections for the seven seats of Rajya Sabha were announced along with 48 other seats across the country. Along with Pawar and Athawale, NCP's Majid Memon, BJP's Amar Sable, Shiv Sena's Rajkumar Dhoot and an Independent member Sanjay Kakade are retiring on 2 April from Rajya Sabha.

Four TMC candidates, one CPM nominee win in West Bengal

Elections were necessitated for five seats in West Bengal as they were falling vacant next month. However, after TMC-backed Independent candidate, Dinesh Bajaj's nomination was cancelled due to technical reasons on Tuesday, voting scheduled on 26 March was done away with, and five candidates -- four from Trinamool Congress and one from CPM -- were declared elected unopposed on Wednesday.

Trinamool Congress candidates Arpita Ghosh, Dinesh Trivedi, Subrata Bakshi and Mausam Noor, and CPM's Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, backed by the Congress, were declared elected after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers at 3 pm, officials said.

Two from BJP, one Congress MP wins from Haryana

In Haryana, two BJP nominees Ram Chander Jangra and Dushyant Kumar Gautam and one Congress' aspirant Deepender Singh Hooda were elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Haryana on Wednesday.

The declaration of the three candidates elected to the Rajya Sabha was made on the last date for withdrawal of nominations.

The BJP had named its backward class leader Jangra and party vice-president Gautam while Congress had named Hooda, its former MP from Rohtak.

Two of the Rajya Sabha vacancies had arisen due to resignation of BJP's Ram Kumar Kashyap, who was elected as party MLA in assembly polls last year, and the impending expiry of the term of veteran Congress leader Kumari Selja next month.

A third vacancy had arisen following the resignation of former Union minister and BJP leader Birender Singh. Gautam has been elected to the Upper House against this vacancy for the remainder of Singh's term, which would last till August 2022.

Deepender had been a three-time Lok Sabha member from Rohtak. In 2019, he narrowly lost to BJP's Arvind Sharma as the saffron party had won all 10 parliamentary seats from the state.

Meanwhile, in Himachal Pradesh, former state president of the BJP's Mahila Morcha, Indu Goswami was on Wednesday elected to Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh.

Goswami, 52, had filed her nomination on 13 March and the scrutiny of her papers was done on 16 March.

Accompanied by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, state BJP chief Rajeev Bindal and Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Goswami was handed over a certificate of her election to the Upper House by state assembly secretary Yash Paul Sharma.

Goswami had resigned from the post of chief of state BJP's Mahila Morcha in July last year.

Earlier, she had unsuccessfully contested the last assembly elections from Palampur constituency where she lost to Congress candidate Ashish Butail.

One of the three Rajya Sabha seats from the state will fall vacant as Vipolve Thakur of the Congress is set to retire from the Upper House on 9 April.

The other two seats from the hill state are currently represented by BJP national president JP Nadda and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.

Nadda's term in the Rajya Sabha will end in 2024, whereas Sharma's term will be completed in 2022.

ALl four BJD candidates win from Odisha

All the four BJD candidates were on Wednesday elected to the Rajya Sabha unopposed as opposition BJP and Congress did not field any nominee for the polls scheduled to be held on 26 March.

Odisha Assembly Secretary-cum Returning Officer for the Rajya Sabha polls, Dasarathi Satpathy announced the election of the four BJD candidates -- Subhas Singh, Munna Khan, Sujit Kumar, and Mamata Mahanta.

While Singh, an OBC, is a trade unionist, Khan, a party old-timer and close associate of late BJD founder Biju Patnaik, comes from the Muslim community.

Kumar, who was an adviser to the Special Development Council, is a general category candidate and hails from Kalahandi district.

Mahanta is a BJD women's wing member from Mayurbhanj district.

The announcement came after the time for the withdrawal of nomination papers came to an end at 3 pm. Satpathy also handed over certificates to the victorious BJD candidates at the state Assembly.

Though four Independent candidates had filed nomination papers, their candidature were rejected for not having the required 10 MLAs as proposers.

While the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has 113 MLAs in the 147-member House, the BJP has 23, followed by nine of the Congress and one of the CPI(M). There is also an Independent legislator.

A candidate required at least 29 first-preference votes to win the election.

Four of the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha are falling vacant on 2 April, after completion of tenure of BJD lawmakers - Anubhav Mohanty, Narendra Kumar Swain, and Sarojini Hembram and Congress member Ranjib Biswal.

Congress wins both seats from Chhattisgarh

Congress nominees KTS Tulsi and Phulo Devi Netam, the only candidates in the fray for the two seats of the Upper House of Parliament from Chhhatisgarh, were on Wednesday elected unopposed.

Of the five Rajya Sabha members from Chhattisgarh, the term of two of them Motilal Vora (Congress) and Ranvijay Pratap Singh Judeo (BJP) - is ending in early April.

The main opposition BJP did not field any candidate in view of its low strength in the current Assembly.

The other three Rajya Sabha members from the state are Saroj Pandey and Ramvichar Netam of the BJP and Chhaya Verma of the Congress.

Tough fight likely for 3 seats from Rajasthan

A tough fight for the three Rajya Sabha seats from Rajasthan became imminent on Wednesday with none of the four candidates for the biennial 26 March polls for the Upper House withdrawing their nominations on the last day for it.

Congress has named KC Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi as its candidates while the BJP has named Rajendra Gehlot for the polls. The BJP, however, sprang a surprise by fielding Omkar Singh Lakhawat, who filed his nomination on the last day.

With Lakhawat staying in the fray, a keen contest is on the cards for the three seats in the Upper House.

Lakhawat is perceived to be the choice of the BJP to cash in on the factionalism within the Congress, party leaders said.

They said though MLAs are tied to their party whips and chances of cross-voting are limited, the BJP fielded Lakhawat amid the growing dissent against the Congress government among other legislative parties, besides the discontent within the Congress itself.

The three seats from Rajasthan are presently held by BJP leaders Ram Narain Dudi, Vijay Goel, and Narayan Lal Panchariya and are going to be vacated next month after the expiry of their incumbents' terms.

Rajasthan has a total of 10 Rajya Sabha seats and nine of them, including the three which are going to polls on 26 March, are held by the BJP.

Congress party's only Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan is former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was elected unopposed in the RS bypolls held last year after the seat fell vacant following the death of BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Madan Lal Saini, who was also the party's state president.

The Congress party, which came to power in December 2018, has a total of 107 MLAs in the house of 200 while the BJP has 72 MLAs.

With inputs from PTI

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