A 15-Point Guide to Rajya Sabha Election: PDP/BJP Not Winning All

Shah Abbas

SRINAGAR

All the political parties have filed their nominations and now everybody is guessing who wins the four Rajya Sabha seats. Regardless of the ‘complicated’ arithmetic involved in the process, the election is simply a number game but has a series of twists.

1.State assembly with 87 members forms the electoral college of the Rajya Sabha.

2.It is not one election for four seats. These are actually three elections in which the electors will have to vote thrice – twice for one candidate each and once for two of the one candidate.

3 .The number of elections is based on the number of notifications that Election Commission has issued. It has issued one notification each for the berths fell vacant with the expiry of term of Prof Saif ud Din Soz and Ghulam Nabi Azad, both Congressmen. Third notification was issued for two seats jointly which NC leaders Ghulam Nabi Rattanpuri and Mohammad Shafi Uri held in the last term.

4. Given the fractured verdict, no party is in a position to claim a victory because nobody has the numbers. PDP has 28 seats, BJP 25, NC 15 and Congress 12. Remaining seven seats are with smaller parties and independents: two with Peoples Conference, one with CPI (M) and one each with Hakim Yasin, Engineer Rashid, Pawan Gupta and one from Zanskar. So in this case, the parties will have to ally with each other and take even independents along.

5. The parties have allied actually. They may call it floor management but there are two visible groups. One is BJP and PDP and another is Congress and NC. This makes numbers look like this: BJP/PDP will have 53 votes and if Sajjad Lone also joins in they will have 55 votes. NC/Congress will have 27 votes and will have to prevail upon five others to get its bit of the cake.

6. There are seven politicians in the fray, two each from PDP, BJP, NC and one from Congress. But this is a cumulative numbers. The realities are slightly different.

7. For the notification 1 that was issued to fill the berth left vacant by Prof Soz, there are only two candidates in fray: Fayaz Ahmad Mir of PDP and NCs Sajjad A Kitchloo. The votes required for the winner are 44, so Mir wins with BJP support.

8. For the second notification that was issued for filling the berth left vacant by Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, there are only two candidates in fray: NCs Nasir Aslam Wani and BJPs Shamsheer Singh Manhas. Apparently, BJP’s Manhas is wining with the support of PDP as winning requires 44 votes which Wani cannot muster at all.

9.For the third notification that was issued by the Election Commission of India to fill the vacancies of Mohammad Shafi Uri and Ghulam Nabi Rattanpuri, election is to be held for two seats at one time. Those in fray are Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Chander Mohan Sharma (BJP) and Nazir Ahmad Laway (PDP). This is the trickiest of all the three elections for this Rajya Sabha season. A candidate has to have more votes than 29.

10. So what happens in this election for two seats is that first seat will have to go either of the two candidates of the BJP/PDP alliance. It depends on the two parties which one they elect first. The number of votes that the first one of theirs will poll (say 30), will not be polled for the second candidate of theirs. That means if they give 30 votes for first candidate, they are left with only 25 votes which is not enough for securing the second seat.

11. Ghulam Nabi Azad has 27 votes in his pocket and would require three to reach the wining level.

12. BJP/PDP could manage winning second berth as well if they somehow manage the votes of independents. While CPI (M) will not help them for ideological reasons, they can manage the remaining four: Engineer Rashid, Hakim Yasin, Pawan Gupta and the one from Zanskar. They can even manage absence of members to reduce the Electoral College and reach the 29 level. But can they?

13. While it is clear that BJP and PDP are together, the Rajya Sabha election would give a clear idea about who wins two seats, if they lose one of the four. Giving a party an advantage of a seat would essentially mean the other side will accommodate them at some different level, may be in the state government when it is formed finally.

14. The election is obviously tough one primarily because it will decide the political future of Azad, former Chief Minister who heads Congress in Rajya Sabha. For Congress, a lot is at stake, because they are confronting an opposition that wants a Congress-free-India. So those voting for Congress will have to be accommodated somewhere at some level. Azad has already been in Jammu for last few days. On Tuesday according to sources he visited the residences of Tarigami and Hakeem Yasin.

15. Election for all the four seats will be held on February 7 and results would be declared the same day. Secretary of the assembly is the returning officer of the entire exercise.

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