In this article, we will discuss the Rajya Sabha Election in a simple and easy way, and try to understand its various important aspects. Read till the end;
Constitutional Provisions of Rajya Sabha
Lok Sabha came into existence as soon as the Constitution came into force, but Rajya Sabha came into existence for the first time after the first Lok Sabha election (1951–52). Although formally its formation was announced in August 1954. And by the 7th Constitutional Amendment, seats in the Rajya Sabha were allocated through the Fourth Schedule .The allocation of seats has been done on the basis of population, so the state with more population has got more seats, like Uttar Pradesh has got maximum 31 seats while smaller states like Tripura got only 1 seat.
Article 80 of the Constitution provides that the maximum number of members in the Rajya Sabha will be 250. Out of which 238 members will be elected from the states and union territories and the remaining 12 members will be nominated by the President. At present, 245 members participate in the Rajya Sabha, out of which 12 are nominated by the President. That is, there are 233 members who come by electing. Its election process has been explained in Article 80(4) .
According to Article 80(4) , the representatives of each State in the Rajya Sabha shall be elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of that State in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote .
In other words, the members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the State Legislative Assembly , which is called the electoral college . This means that the voters of Rajya Sabha candidates are MLAs.
|Lok Sabha: Role, Structure, Functions||Hindi||English|
|Rajya Sabha: Constitution, Powers||Hindi||English|
Procedure for selection of Rajya Sabha members
The Rajya Sabha is a continuous body, that is, it is never dissolved, but one-third of its members retire every second year. This means that elections are held every other year to fill one-third of the members.
It may be noted here that the vacancies arising due to resignation, death or disqualification are filled through by-elections, but such members are to serve the remaining tenure of their predecessors and not the full six years.
The Constitution does not say anything about the tenure of Rajya Sabha members, it was left to the Parliament, that is why the Parliament reduced the term of Rajya Sabha members to six years under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
For the filing of nomination for Rajya Sabha elections, the consent of at least 10 members is mandatory.
How is the Rajya Sabha election held?
As mentioned above, the members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected MLAs of the state. But the votes are not cast separately by the MLAs for each seat, because if this happens then the ruling party will occupy each seat. To avoid this, the single transferable vote is used according to the system of proportional representation .
In the single transferable vote system , the voter has only one vote but it is transferable. Actually, under this, every MLA is given a list at the time of voting, in which he has to write his first preference, second preference, third preference etc. for Rajya Sabha candidates.
The number of votes of MLAs required for a candidate to win is determined on the basis of seats already vacant. That is, to win in this system a certain vote has to be brought. First past the post is not like the system that the one who gets the most votes will win.
In such a situation, if a candidate does not get that certain vote in the first counting, then the second and third rounds of counting are done and only then Second Preference, Third Preference etc. comes in handy. What is the meaning of all this let us understand with example;
Example of Rajya Sabha election process
Let us understand this by taking the example of Delhi. There are 3 Rajya Sabha seats in Delhi, let’s assume that 2 seats are still vacant and elections are to be held on them. There are total 70 assembly seats in Delhi i.e. total 70 voters who will cast their votes.
The rule is that by adding 1 to the number of seats that are vacant, divide it in the total assembly seats and add 1 more to the result. Looking at this example, 2+1 =3. Divide this 70 by 3, so that’s 23.3. Now add 1 more to it; That is, it will be 24.3. In round figure it can take 24.
This means that for a candidate to win, the vote of at least 24 MLAs is required. Taking the current situation, the Aam Aadmi Party has 62 MLAs out of 70 in Delhi. To win both the candidates need the votes of at least 48 MLAs. That is, in this situation, the Aam Aadmi Party will field its candidate and it will win comfortably. This is such a situation when a party has so many MLAs that they alone can win their candidate, but if assume that out of 70 MLAs, Aam Aadmi Party has 25 MLAs and BJP has 30 MLAs and Congress has 15 MLAs and only 1 seat is vacant; So what would happen in such a situation?
Obviously all three will field their candidates for that 1 seat. If the quota for this 1 seat is taken out, then 36 comes [(70/1+1) +1]. That is, for any candidate to win, the vote of at least 36 MLAs is required. And in our case no party has 36 MLAs.
Here there may be a situation where any two parties come to an agreement and let their candidate win. But for the sake of understanding, let us assume that the three parties have voted separately. As mentioned above all the voters (ie MLA) will choose their first choice, second choice and third choice. Let’s assume that all three have made their choice something like this-
|first choice||BJP candidate|
|second choice||Aap candidate|
|third choice||Congress candidate|
|first choice||Aap candidate|
|second choice||BJP candidate|
|third choice||Congress candidate|
|first choice||Congress candidate|
|second choice||Aap candidate|
|third choice||BJP candidate|
The BJP has the maximum number of MLAs (30), which means it is still less than six votes to win. Here in the first chart, it is seen that thirty BJP MLAs have chosen their own candidate as their first choice. Similarly 25 AAP MLAs have chosen AAP candidate as their first choice and 15 Congress MLAs have chosen Congress candidate as their first choice. You can see this in the chart below
It can be seen here that no candidate has got 36 votes so now the vote will be transferred. For this the second round of counting will be started. According to the Single Transferable Vote system, the one who has got the lowest number of votes will see the second preference. Here the Congress has got the least votes as the first choice, so its vote will be transferred. For this, the second preference of these fifteen Congress voters will be seen.
If you look at the chart of Congress MLAs, then the second choice of fifteen of its MLAs is Aam Aadmi Party. This means that these fifteen votes will be transferred to the Aam Aadmi Party candidate. AAP MLA already has 25 votes and now got 15 more, in this way his candidate got total 40 votes whereas only 36 were needed to win that’s why AAP candidate will be declared the winner.
In this way it can be seen that BJP candidate got maximum votes as first choice but due to vote transfer in second round of counting BJP candidate lost and AAP candidate won. This is the beauty of the single transferable vote system.
So overall the Rajya Sabha election is like this; Hope it is understood. Now let us understand some important facts related to it-
Facts related to Rajya Sabha elections
This formula to calculate the number of seats required to win elections in proportional representation system is known as ‘ Hayer Formula ‘ because it was formulated by the English politician Thomas Hayer in 1857. In India, this method is used for the election of the President and the members of the Legislative Council in addition to the Rajya Sabha election . Apart from this, this method is also used in countries like America, Canada, Malta and Ireland.
Open ballot system is adopted for Rajya Sabha elections, that is, the MLA of each party has to show the authorized agent of his party before casting his vote in the ballot box. If a ballot paper is shown by an MLA to an agent of a party other than the authorized agent of his party, his vote will be void. At the same time, not showing the ballot paper to the authorized agent will also invalidate the vote.
| Two circulars were issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in 2014 and 2015, in which there was talk of using the option of NOTA in the Rajya Sabha elections. But in August 2018, the Supreme Court , while giving an important decision, said that NOTA will not be used in the Rajya Sabha elections.