Rajya Sabha – Upper House of the Indian Parliament

Today I am going to talk about Rajya Sabha elections that’s going to happen in 10 days times for 58 seats. The last time we had Rajya Sabha elections, I was awake till 2AM in the night to see if BJP could defeat Congress party’s big nominee Ahmed Patel in Gujarat. There was so much drama that unfolded and finally Congress won narrowly.

Writing about Rajya Sabha election makes me feel that I am going back to my Social Studies text book and to my School Days. Rajya Sabha as we all know is the upper house of the Parliament which plays significant role in the three pillars of the democracy which are executive, judiciary and legislature. Rajya Sabha though is a house with maximum of 250 members as per our constitution but at present as per our law we have 245 members.

Out of 245, 233 Rajya Sabha members are elected by the elected representatives. Here the elected representatives are the Members of State Legislative Assembly. The remaining 12 are the nominated by President for their contributions to art, culture, science and social services. Presently few nominated people that we know are Sachin Tendulkar (Social Service), Subramaniam Swamy (Economics), Mary Kom (Sport) and Rekha (Art).

The major difference in both the houses of parliament is the longevity. Lok Sabha the lower house of the parliament gets dissolved every 5 years where as Rajya Sabha is perpetual and lasts for ever. Lok Sabha members get re-elected every term of 5 years where as Rajya Sabha elections happen every 2 years where 1/3rd of its total gets retired and are filled up through elections. Member of Rajya Sabha hold the seat for 6 years compared to Lok Sabha member for 5 years.

Following are the list of seats for each state and union territory. Off all the States Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of seats with 31 followed by Maharashtra (19) and Tamil Nadu (18).

Name of state and union territory           No. of Seats

Andhra Pradesh                                              11

Arunachal Pradesh                                         1

Assam                                                               7

Bihar                                                                  16

Chhattisgarh                                                    5

Goa                                                                    1

Gujarat                                                              11

Haryana                                                            5

Himachal Pradesh                                          3

Jammu & Kashmir                                          4

Jharkhand                                                         6

Karnataka                                                         12

Kerala                                                                9

Madhya Pradesh                                            11

Maharashtra                                                    19

Manipur                                                            1

Meghalaya                                                       1

Mizoram                                                           1

Nagaland                                                          1

National Capital Territory of Delhi             3

Odisha                                                               10

Puducherry                                                       1

Punjab                                                               7

Rajasthan                                                         10

Sikkim                                                                1

Tamil Nadu                                                      18

Telangana                                                        7

Tripura                                                              1

Uttar Pradesh                                                  31

Uttarakhand                                                    3

West Bengal                                                    16

Nominated                                                       12

Total                                                                  245


How are these Rajya Sabha members elected?

Let me take a situation and explain this. For example, if we take Uttar Pradesh it has total 31 seats and in the coming election the 1/3rd of its composition is up for re-election that is 10 seats. The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly strength is 404. Out of which BJP and its alliance have 324 and opposition has only 78.

Now for the calculations!

The 404 seats are taken and divided by the number of seats to be filled up +1. It’s like this 404/10+1. That is 404/11= 36.72. So, to elect member of Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh he/she needs to get 37 votes. With 324 seats in their pocket BJP will win 8 seats without any problem and opposition will win 2. This is the case in Uttar Pradesh, I would not want to get into the games and strategies that are getting developed. I will deal with them in my next Tuesday post. That would have all the political game plans. So, the election day of 23 becomes very crucial to see if BJP will win 8+ or opposition takes away 2.

Let’s take another example of our home state of Telangana, it has got 119 legislative assembly seats and total of 7 Rajya Sabha seats. Number of seats up for election are 3. TRS has got 90 MLA seats and opposition has 29 including BJP 5, MIM 7 and INC 13. The calculation here goes like this 119/3+1. That is 119/4=29.75. So, to elect a member of Rajya Sabha from Telangana State he/she require 30 seats. With TRS having 90 seats they will clean sweep all the 3 seats and increase their strength in Rajya Sabha. So, the entire opposition cannot win a single seat also.

This is how the Election process happens in Rajya Sabha. Very different one from what we generally see and practice. Rajya Sabha has its own importance in Nation Building. In my next post that is on 20th March I will write the Preview and Predictions for Rajya Sabha Elections which are scheduled to reelect 58 seats. Before that juicy post this is a post that will refresh your understanding of Rajya Sabha elections. Hope you liked it!