Separate bypolls for six RS seats; BJP, BJD to gain

Bye-elections to six Rajya Sabha seats, including those vacated by BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani, will be held on July 5, the Election Commission announced on Saturday.

The Commission said that bye-elections are considered as separate vacancies and separate elections are held for each of the Rajya Sabha seat that had fallen vacant.

Four Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant following the election of Ravi Shankar Prasad (Bihar), Shah and Smriti (both Gujarat) and Achyuta Samanta (Odisha) to the Rajya Sabha.

The Commission's decision to hold separate bypolls for each of the seats that has fallen vacant would help the BJP win both the seats in Gujarat and the BJD all the three seats in Odisha.

Congress had hit out at the Commission accusing it of planning to hold separate elections to the two seats that had fallen vacant in Gujarat, thus denying it an opportunity to win a seat.

However, the Commission clarified that “vacancies for bye-elections to all Houses, including the Rajya Sabha, are considered separate vacancies and separate vacancies and separate notifications are issues and separate poll is taken for each of the vacancies although the programme schedule for the bye-elections may be common.”

“This is in conformity with the provisions of Section 147 to 151 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and has been the consistent practice of the Commission in such cases,” the Election Commission said.

BJD Rajya Sabha member Anubhav Mohanty had also won the Lok Sabha elections, but the Commission has not announced a bypoll to his seat as he had less than a year's tenure left.

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