How are Rajya Sabha Members Elected?

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How are Rajya Sabha Members Elected? Blog Image


The Election Commission of India recently announced the schedule for the election on 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Goa, Gujarat and West Bengal.

About Rajya Sabha:


  • Origin: India follows the British parliamentary system, so the Rajya Sabha, or the Upper House of Parliament, is equivalent to the House of Lords in the United Kingdom.
  • Present strength:  The Rajya Sabha currently has 245 members, including 233 elected members and 12 nominated. As per the constitutional limit, the Upper House strength cannot exceed 250.
  • Membership: While 233 members are elected from states and Union Territories (UTs), President of India nominates the remaining 12 from from the fields of art, literature, science and social services. 
  • Tenure: Every Rajya Sabha MP has a tenure of six years and elections to one-third seats are held every two years.
  • Vacancy: According to Section 154 of the Representation of the People Act 1951, a member chosen to fill a casual vacancy will serve for the remainder of his predecessor's term of office.
  • Chair: The Indian vice-president is chairperson of the Upper House, while it also has a deputy chair.


Election Process to Rajyasabha:

  • While Lok Sabha members are elected directly by the voters, Rajya Sabha members are elected indirectly by the people, that is, by the elected Members of a state's Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
  • How many Rajya Sabha members a state can send depends on its population.
  • MLAs vote in the Rajya Sabha elections in what is called proportional representation with the single transferable vote (STV) system. Each MLA’s vote is counted only once.
  • In this system, MLAs don’t vote for each seat.
  • Instead, the MLAs are given a paper with the names of all candidates. They have to give their order of preference for each candidate, marking 1,2,3… against their names.
  • The ballot is open but MLAs have to show their ballots to an authorised agent from their party to prevent practices such as cross-voting. A vote cannot be counted if the ballot is not shown to the agent. Independent MLAs cannot show their ballot to anyone.
  • If a qualifying number of voters choose a candidate as their first choice, he or she is elected. 
  • The remaining votes go to the next candidates, but with a lesser value. So, MLAs also vote for candidates from other parties. 
  • The candidate that gets rank 1 from an MLA secures a first preference vote. In order to win, a candidate needs a specific number of such first preference votes. This number depends on the strength of the state Assembly and the number of MPs it sends to Rajya Sabha.
  • To win, a candidate should get a required number of votes which is known as quota or preference vote. The formula is = [Total number of votes/(Number of Rajya Sabha seats + 1)] + 1.
  • However, the formula is changed in case more than one seat needs to be filled. The total number of votes required for a candidate in the case is = [(Number of votes x 100) / (Vacancies + 1)] + 1.


Q1) What is the strength of Rajya Sabha?

The Rajya Sabha should consist of not more than 250 members - 238 members representing the States and Union Territories, and 12 members nominated by the President.The Rajya Sabha currently has 245 members, including 233 elected members and 12 nominated

Source: Election for 10 Rajya Sabha seats on July 24: S Jaishankar, Derek O'Brien in fray