The Rajya Sabha is a continuous House unlike the Lok Sabha, which is dissolved after completing a five-year term. Roughly, one-third of the members retire every two years, thereby completing the cycle in six years. The members represent the entire state and not just specific constituencies. In the 245-member House, each state has a different but fixed number of seats. The members for these seats are elected by the elected members of the respective state legislative assemblies (MLAs). Therefore, the results of state assembly elections can have extended consequences on the composition of the Rajya Sabha. Twelve members are nominated by the President.
The results of state assembly elections can have extended consequences on the composition of the Rajya Sabha.
The elections to the Rajya Sabha (RS) are conducted using the system of single transferable voting (STV) that results in proportional representation. Every voter has one vote and can mark as many preferences, as there are candidates contesting the election. It is necessary for at least the first preference to be marked for the vote to be considered valid. A candidate needs a minimum number of votes (quota) to be elected. If no one achieves the required quota after the first round of counting the value of first preference votes, the candidate with the lowest value of votes is eliminated. His/her votes are then transferred to the respective second preference mentioned on the votes (if any) he received. Similarly, if a candidate gets more votes (surplus) than the quota, he/she is declared elected and the surplus votes are transferred proportionally. The process repeats till either:
1. number of candidates elected equals the number of vacancies or
2. all candidates, except one, are eliminated in which case the last remaining candidate is declared elected.
To understand this better, we will now analyse how the recent UP state assembly election result will affect the composition of Rajya Sabha.
UP sends 31 members to the Rajya Sabha out of which 10 will retire in 2018, 10 in 2020 and 11 in April 2022. The new assembly's five-year term will be completed by March 2022. Hence, this assembly will vote for only the 20 seats opening in 2018 and 2020.
Let us assume that:
- the current assembly will last for the complete five-year term,
- no defections occur,
- all alliances remain same for nominating RS candidates,
- all MLAs vote along party lines and
- the target of all parties is to have maximum representation in the Rajya Sabha.
The electoral college consists of all the elected 403 MLAs. Let the value of each vote be deemed to be 100. For example: SP with 47 MLAs have 4700 votes. Now, going step by step:
Step 1: Determine votes required to win a seat
For April 2018
The number of votes required to win a seat (quota) can be calculated using the following formula:
Quota = [ ( Total MLAs x Value of Vote ) / ( No. of vacancies + 1 ) ] + 1
= [ ( 403 x 100 ) / (10+1) ] + 1
= ( 40300 / 11) + 1
= 3664 (fraction vote discounted).
Hence, each candidate (of any party) needs 3664 votes to be elected.
Step 2: Determining the minimum number of seats assured to each party
Based on our knowledge of the number of votes required by each candidate to win and the total number of votes that can be casted by each party, Table 1 below lists the minimum number of seats assured to each party among the 10 vacancies opening in April 2018 in UP.
After winning these assured numbers of seats, each party will have some surplus votes left. These surplus votes are useful for parties to increase their chances of winning an extra seat, as explained later in this article.
Votes needed to win an extra seat = Quota - Surplus Votes
Step 3: Contest for the 10th seat
a) By elimination: If all voters do not mark any preference beyond their own alliance candidate, then NDA with the highest surplus votes (3,188) will win the 10th seat since all others will be eliminated.
b) By alliance: As it stands, the SP, with 4700 votes, is capable of winning one seat on its own. The BJP, with its 312 MLAs has the numbers to win the eight seats on its own. However, support from their allies or any other parties can help them win the votes needed to win the extra seat. For example: The NDA needs 476 more votes to cross the quota. It can do so if it gets the support of all five MLAs in the "Others" category.
The calculations in Table 1 remain the same for November 2020 since both parameters—party composition and the number of vacancies (10)—are the same. Now, we can predict the likely change in the Rajya Sabha composition due to UP election results (in Table 2):
GOA, MANIPUR, UTTARAKHAND AND PUNJAB
We can now analyse how the results for Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Punjab will affect the Rajya Sabha composition:
Keep in mind that the sitting INC member in Manipur whose term was scheduled to finish in 2020 passed away last month. His vacancy will be filled by the new ruling NDA alliance's candidate whenever by-polls are conducted this year. Since the term of every RS seat is fixed at six years, this seat will still reopen in 2020 and is expected to be won by the ruling NDA alliance again.Source: Rajya Sabha; PRS
Note: Mr. Manohar Parrikar (elected in November 2014 from UP) will have to resign from the Rajya Sabha within the next 6 months. To continue to occupy the position of the Chief Minister of Goa, he has to become an MLA from Goa Assembly within the next six months and will have to resign within 14 days of his election. His RS seat will, however, be retained by the BJP in the by-polls due to its majority in the new UP Assembly. Note that the member elected to fill the vacancy will be due for election again in November 2020 since the term of a Rajya Sabha seat is fixed at six years. Hence, no calculations in the above article will be affected.