Seven states will go to polls on Saturday to elect 27 Rajya Sabha members. These include 11 seats from Uttar Pradesh, four each from Karnataka and Rajasthan, three from Madhya Pradesh, two each from Haryana and Jharkhand and one from Uttarakhand. Out of 57 Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant, voting will take place for only 27 seats today as 30 candidates were declared elected unopposed at the end of withdrawal of nominations on June 3.
Prominent among them are Union Ministers - Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal, eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad's daughter Misa Bharati and former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav. In Uttar Pradesh, 12 candidates are vying for 11 seats. While the Samajwadi Party has fielded seven candidates, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting two seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress one each.
The BJP is also backing Independent candidate Preeti Mahapatra which will affect the Congress candidate Kapil Sibal the most. Sibal is now looking to Mayawati's BSP and Ajit Singh's RLD for help. In Madhya Pradesh, victory of the BJP's two candidates is certain as the party has the required numbers but there will be a contest between the BJP and the Congress for the third seat.
In Jharkhand, voting will take place for two seats. There will be a contest between the BJP's nominee Mahesh Poddar and Congress-backed Jharkhand Mukti Morcha candidate, Basant Soren, who is short of six votes to win the second seat. In Uttarakhand, three candidates are in the fray for lone seat. They are Congress' Pradeep Tamta and two independents. BSP MLAs support will be a deciding factor for the victory in the hill state.
In Karnataka, polling is being held after the Election Commission refused to cancel the voting following a sting operation showing some MLAs demanding money for their votes. BJP, Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) have fielded their candidates for the four seats in the state. The counting of votes will be taken up at 5 pm today.