New Delhi | The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to gain around six seats in the Rajya Sabha after the February 27 elections to fill up 56 vacancies, with the JD(U) and the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar having joined the ruling coalition.
The Election Commission on Monday announced elections to the 56 seats -- 10 from Uttar Pradesh, six each from Maharashtra and Bihar, five each from Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, four each from Karnataka and Gujarat, three each from Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, and one each from Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.
In Himachal Pradesh, the Congress is likely to gain the seat from the BJP, which is currently held by party chief J P Nadda. According to Congress sources, the state party leadership may offer the seat to its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
For renomination to the Rajya Sabha, Nadda will have to look for a seat outside his home state of Himachal Pradesh as the Congress is in power there.
While the BJP-JDU combine is likely to gain two seats in Bihar currently held by the RJD and the Congress after the JDU returned to the NDA. The BJP-led alliance is likely to gain an equal number of seats in Maharashtra.
Of the six seats that have fallen vacant in Bihar, two each was held by the JDU and the RJD and one each by the the Congress and the BJP.
In Maharashtra, the BJP held three of the six seats falling vacant and the NCP, Congress and the Shiv Sena had one each.
In Gujarat, the Congress will lose the two seats it holds currently and the BJP will wrest these seats now with its increased strength in the state assembly.
The BJP is likely to retain its 28 seats going to elections.
The NDA's current strength in the Upper House of Parliament stands at 114, including 93 of the BJP. The Congress has 30 seats, the second highest.
The Congress will gain two seats in Telangana, where it has formed the state government, but is likely to lose two seats in Gujarat and one each in Bihar and West Bengal.
The nomination process for the biennial elections will begin on February 8 with the issuance of the notification.
While 50 members retire on April 2, six do so on April 3, the Election Commission said.
The vacancies also include seats held by nine Union ministers including Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav and Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
Others retiring in April include BJD members Prashanta Nanda and Amar Patnaik (Odisha), BJP chief spokesperson Anil Baluni (Uttarakhand) and Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala, and Congress members Naranbhai Rathwa and Amee Yagnik from Gujarat.
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, MSME Minister Narayan Rane, former Union minister Prakash Javadekar, Congress member Kumar Ketkar, NCP member Vandana Chavan and Shiv Sena (UBT) member Anil Desai are retiring from Maharashtra.