Rajya Sabha elections underway; all eyes on UP and Karnataka

Voting for Rajya Sabha biennial began on Saturday morning as 27 Upper House seats from seven states went to elections.
Altogether, 58 RS seats fell vacant from 16 states over the past two months. Of these seats, 31 candidates have already won unopposed and their results will be formally announced, along with the 27 seats, on Saturday.
# Verbal spat between SP and BJP legislator
In Uttar Pradesh, there was a verbal spat between Samajwadi Party MLA Hazi Zamerullah Khan and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Raghunandan Singh Badauriya over their candidates during voting.
# Polling begins in Madhya Pradesh, Ramniwas Rawat casts the first ballot
Voting for the three RS seats from Madhya Pradesh in which two BJP candidates senior journalist MJ Akbar and Anil Dave and Congress nominee Vivek Tankha are in the fray, began on Saturday with MLA Ramniwas Rawat casting the first ballot at the State legislative assembly.
After Rawat who is the Congress chief whip in the State Assembly, BJP MLA Girish Gautam cast his vote. In the polling, 228 members of the House are expected to take part.
# Polling for four Rajya Sabha seats in Rajasthan begins
Elections to the four seats of Rajya sabha today began at the Rajasthan Assembly premises here. Leader of opposition Rameshwar Dusi cast the first vote followed by former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, the assembly spokesperson said.
In the house of 200, the ruling BJP has 160 members and Congress 24. National Peoples Party has four, BSP has three, National Unionist Zamindara Party has two and seven are independents.
Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, BJP’s national Vice President Om Prakash Mathur, former RBI official Ramkumar Sharma and member of erstwhile Dungarpur royal family Harsh Vardhan Singh are the BJP candidates whereas Kamal Morarka filed nomination papers as independent candidate.
# Rajya Sabha polls for two Haryana seats begins
Voting began for two Rajya Sabha seats in Haryana here today which are falling vacant in August, with three candidates including Union Minister Birender Singh in fray. The Haryana Assembly has 90 members and polling will be held between 9 AM to 4 PM today.
On Friday, the Congress had announced support for INLD-backed Independent candidate and lawyer R K Anand for one of the seat in the biennial elections being held today.
With 30 candidates from eight states already elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha, voting for the remaining seats is taking place in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.
Charges, counter charges in Karnataka
Amid charges and counter charges of horse trading, fierce contests are on the cards especially in Karnataka, where a sting by TV channels has indicated that parties have big stakes in the polls for the upper house.
In Karnataka, five nominees, including three from Congress and one each from the BJP and Janatal Dal-Secular (JD-S) are in the fray.
The candidates are Oscar Fernandes, Jairam Ramesh and K.C. Ramamurthy (all Congress), Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of BJP and B.M. Farooq of Janata Dal-Secular.
The contest in Karnataka is basically between Congress’s third nominee Ramamurthy and JD-S’ BM Farooq. While Ramamurthy will need 12 more votes, Farooq will need five more votes to win as his party has only 40 lawmakers in the house.