On the 1st of June, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced elections for 18 Rajya Sabha seats.
The Rajya Sabha elections which were scheduled in March, were postponed due to the pandemic crisis due to the Novel Coronavirus and the lockdown.
However, after discussion, the ECI announced the 19th of June to be the election date for 18 Rajya Sabha seats.
The list of 18 Rajya Sabha seats includes 4 seats from Andhra Pradesh (A.P.,) 4 from Gujarat, 3 each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Two seats would be from Jharkhand and one each from Meghalaya and Manipur.
The ECI asked the chief secretaries of all the states going for elections on the 19th of June to depute a senior officer to ensure the arrangements of the elections, considering the COVID-19 precautionary guidelines.
The ECI in a statement said, “The Commission has also decided that the Chief Secretaries shall depute a senior officer from the state to ensure that the extant instructions regarding Covid-19 containment measures are complied with while making arrangements for conducting the elections.” It further read, “Further, the Commission has appointed (the) Chief Electoral Officer concerned as Observer for the election in the respective state.”
In February, the Commission had announced elections to fill 55 seats across 17 states. In March, 37 candidates across 10 states were elected unopposed.
A few strong candidates contesting for the first round of Rajya Sabha elections during the pandemic crisis are Jyotiraditya Scindia, who recently switched to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the Indian National Congress (INC.) Meanwhile, in opposition, K.C. Venugopal would be representing the INC in Rajasthan.
The announcement to conduct Rajya Sabha elections came two days after the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the 5th lockdown in containment zones and Unlock 1 for opening.
The 5th lockdown would be followed strictly in all containment zones for the spread of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 in 13 cities of India till the 30th of June.