The Rajya Sabha or the Council of States is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India. It currently has a maximum membership of 245, of which 233 are elected by the legislatures of the states and union territories using single transferable votes through Open Ballot while the President can appoint 12 members for their contributions of art, literature, science, and social services. Members sit for staggered terms lasting six years, with elections every year but almost a third of the 233 designates up for election every two years, specifically in even-numbered years. The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions, and unlike the Lok Sabha, being the lower house of the parliament, the Rajya Sabha, which is the upper house of Parliament, is not subjected to dissolution. However, the Rajya Sabha, like the Lok Sabha can be prorogued by the President. The Rajya Sabha has equal footing in legislation with the Lok Sabha, except in the area of supply, where the Lok Sabha would hold greater influence because of its larger membership. The Vice President of India id the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions. The Deputy Chairman, who is elected from amongst the house’s members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman. The Rajya Sabha held its first sitting on 13th May 1952. Rajya Sabha meets in the eponymous chamber in Parliament House in New Delhi. Since 18th July 2018, the Rajya Sabha has facility for simultaneous interpretation in all the 22 official languages of India.
Recent election results of Rajya Sabha-
The ruling Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) gained a significant advantage in the Rajya Sabha results 2020 on Friday, with key constituent Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) winning eight of the nineteen seats across eight states that went to poll yesterday. The BJP had won three seats unopposed earlier. Among major winners on Friday included Jyotiraditya Scindia from the BJP, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and former Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren. The BJP- led NDA had 90 members in the Rajya Sabha and with the latest additions, the alliance now has 101 MPs in the 245-member Council of States where the majority mark is 123. This is the first that the NDA has crossed 100 MPs in the upper house with BJP alone having 86 of them. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) now has 65 seats. Elections to 24 seats in 10 states were earlier scheduled for March 26, but had to be deferred amid India-wide lockdown to tackle the novel COVID-19 outbreak in the country. Earlier, former PM Devegowda and 3 other candidates in Karnataka as well as one candidate in Arunachal Pradesh were unopposed.
Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh and his once arch rival and BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, both belonging to two erstwhile royal families in Madhya Pradesh, have made their way to the Rajya Sabha after tasting defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh is a descendant of the royal family of Raghogarh, while Scindia, who was once among Rahul Gandhi’s closest of aides, is a scion of the erstwhile princely state of Gwalior. Singh and Scindia are known as the “Raja” and “Maharaja”, respectively, for their royal lineage. Singh, who had contested the last Lok Sabha polls from Bhopal, had lost to BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur, while Scindia had unsuccessfully contested the polls to the Lower House of the parliament from Guna constituency, considered the pocket borough of his family. The entry into the Rajya Sabha of these two influential leaders from the state comes three months after the collapse of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government. BJP candidate Leisemba Sanajaoba won the election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat in Manipur received 28 votes, according to returning officer M Ramani Devi. Congress candidates T Mangi Babu got 24 votes she said. The win will be a major boost to the ruling BJP-led coalition in the state which was on a sticky wicket after the rebellion of nine MLAs, including Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar.
Of the nine, BJP MLAs S Subashchandra Singh, TT Haokip and Samuel Jendai who resigned from the primary membership of the party and the assembly could not cast their votes. Four National People’s Party (NPP) ministers, who had withdrawn their support from the ruling coalition, have exercised their franchise. Apart from Joykumar, the other three are Tribal and Hills Area Development Minister N Kayishii, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Letpao Haokip, and Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayanta Kumar Singh. Lone Trinamool Congress MLA T Robindro Singh, who also pulled out of the N Biren Singh-led dispensation, was also not allowed to cast his vote. He lodged a complaint to the Election Commission in this regard. In his complaint, Singh said he was disqualified by the speaker under the 10th schedule on Thursday “without following the due process”. He claimed he was not given any notice to put forward his defense. Three Congress defectors- Ksh Biren Singh, S Bira Singh and Surchandra Singh were not allowed to cast their votes as the cases against them are pending against them. However, the other four defectors could vote. One recently disqualified MLA was barred from taking part in the voting process. Manipur has 60 assembly seats. Three BJP candidates along with Congress’s Shaktisinh Gohil were declared winners of the election to four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat, held on Friday. The counting was delayed due to objections raised by the congress which demanded that votes cast by two BJP MLAs be invalidated. The Election Commission of the India rejected the demand, upholding the report given by the election observer. The ruling Congress in Rajasthan won two Rajya Sabha seats, while the opposition BJP got one in elections held in the state on Friday. KC Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi of the Congress were declared winner, while Rajendra Gehlot of the BJP also got elected, an assembly spokesperson said. The BJP had fielded a second candidate as well, Onkar Singh Lakhawat, but he lost. With this, the number of Congress party’s Rajya Sabha MPs from Rajasthan has increased to three, out of a total of 10. The rest seven are BJP members.