Following the uncontested election of five AAP nominees in Punjab last week, the focus has shifted to five states – Assam, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Tripura – where Rajya Sabha elections for eight seats will be held on Thursday.
Assam will field two candidates, Kerala three and Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Tripura one each. The Rajya Sabha elections are being held almost three weeks after the announcement of the results of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab, where the BJP has won in four of the five states and the AAP has won in Punjab.
What a fight
The BJP has fielded party spokesperson Pabitra Margherita for one of the two seats in Assam. United People’s Party Liberals (UPPL), BJP’s ally Rangwa Narjari is contesting for another seat.
Congressman Rupin Bora, whose term expires on April 2, has been re-nominated by the party. Margherita’s victory is almost certain, political experts say, as the BJP holds 83 of the 126 assembly seats. Narjari and Bora will have to contest for the second seat.
The ruling LDF has nominated CPI (M) state committee member AA Rahim and CPI leader P Santosh Kumar in Kerala, where three seats remain vacant. JB Mather, head of the women’s wing of the opposition Congress, has been nominated. AK Antony, MV Shreyas Kumar, and Somaprasad K are among the retirees.
In BJP-ruled Tripura, state president Dr Manik Saha has been nominated for the only Rajya Sabha seat. Vanu Lal Saha, a senior CPI (M) leader, has been named in the Left Front.
Prime Minister Modi’s speech
The Prime Minister will also address the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Other speakers who will bid farewell to the retired members include Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, House Leader Piyush Goel and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharg.
Dinner with a glimpse of the retiring members, a show of talent
Retired members of the Rajya Sabha held a photo session with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RS Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, Deputy Chairman Harivansh and LS Speaker Om Birla on Thursday.
Delhi | The retired members of the Rajya Sabha held a photo-op session with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President Haribhansh and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla today. pic.twitter.com/d32InEthtj– ANI (ANI) March 31, 2022
M Venkaiah Naidu will host a farewell dinner for all the outgoing members of the upper house at his official residence on Thursday. Prime Minister Modi is also expected to attend the farewell dinner.
It is learned that a cultural program will also be organized and memorials will be given to the 62 retired members and 19 other former members who have retired earlier but could not accept the memento.
According to reports, some members of Rajya Sabha will showcase their cultural talents at the farewell function.
Trinamool Congress member Santnu Sen will play guitar at the farewell dinner, BJP’s Rupa Ganguly will sing a Hindi song and DMK’s Tiruchi Shiva will sing a Tamil song. Sources said that a few more members will also showcase their talents during the program, IANS reported.
It is also learned that besides Naidu, Prime Minister Modi, Leader of both the House and Opposition, leaders of other parties and some retired members will address the farewell dinner.
Earlier in the Rajya Sabha, Naidu had said that Question Hour and Zero Hour would not be held on Thursday for members to speak and bid farewell to retired members.
The five members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and six members of the Congress will be among the 19 members who will retire in April. As a result of the retirement, the number of members of Congress will be reduced from 34 to 28. The BJP’s total vote share will drop from 97 to 92. The BJP is the single largest party in the upper house with 237 members.
Among the members who retired in April were Congress deputy leaders Anand Sharma, AK Antony, Subramanian Swamy, MC Mary Kom and Swapan Dasgupta and Nirmala Sitharaman, Suresh Prabhu, MJ Akbar, Jairam Ramesh, Vivek Tankha and V Vijayasai Reddy. Will end in June.
Members retiring in July include Piyush Goyal, Muktar Abbas Naqvi, P Chidambaram, Ambika Soni, Kapil Sibal, Satish Chandra Mishra, Sanjay Raut, Praful Patel and KJ Alphonse.
Although some Union ministers and BJP leaders will be re-nominated by the ruling party, there is no clarity about the reshuffle of some Congress members, some of whom are from the G-23, which has criticized the party’s leadership.
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