KOLKATA: Four Trinamool Congress candidates and a CPI(M) nominee for the five Rajya Sabha seats in West Bengal were declared elected unopposed on Wednesday, officials said.
Trinamool Congress candidates Arpita Ghosh, Dinesh Trivedi, Subrata Bakshi and Mausam Noor, and CPI(M)'s Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, backed by the Congress, were declared elected after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers at 3 pm, they said.
After TMC-backed Independent candidate Dinesh Bajaj's nomination was cancelled due to technical reasons on Tuesday, voting scheduled on March 26 was done away with.
Elections were necessitated as the seats were falling vacant next month.
All 5 Rajya Sabha candidates in Bihar elected unopposed
All five candidates for as many Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar were on Wednesday declared elected unopposed as no other nominations were filed, an official said.
Bihar assembly secretary-cum-returning officer Bateshwar Nath Pandey told PTI that certificates were handed over to all the five candidates after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers at 3 pm.
Two candidates each were from the Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and one from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Since no other candidate had filed nomination papers, the voting, which was scheduled on March 26, was done away with.
Elections were necessitated for the seats as they were falling vacant next month upon the expiry of term of the sitting members all of whom belonged to the JD(U)-BJP combine in the state.
The JD(U) candidates were Harivansh, who is currently the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and Ram Nath Thakur.
They will be serving a second consecutive term.
Harivansh is a veteran journalist, who has edited the Prabhat Khabar for long, and is considered a confidant of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the JD(U)'s national president.
Ram Nath Thakur is the son of former chief minister Karpoori Thakur, arguably the tallest OBC leader from Bihar who Kumar and other socialist leaders of his generation consider their political guru.
BJP candidate Vivek Thakur, a former MLC who makes his parliamentary debut, is the son of former Union minister C P Thakur, whose Rajya Sabha tenure ends next month.
The RJD candidates are Prem Chand Gupta and Amarendra Dhari Singh.
Gupta, who is a close aide of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, hails from Haryana and had served as a minister in the UPA-1 government at the Centre.
Singh, who is an entrepreneur, is not known for prior involvement in politics.
His candidature had caused much bewilderment in the five-party grand alliance headed by the RJD, one reason being that he is a Bhumihar, the upper caste known to be most vocally opposed to Lalu Prasad in Bihar.
BJP's Indu Goswami elected to Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh
Former state president of the BJP's Mahila Morcha, Indu Goswami was on Wednesday elected to Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh.
Goswami, 52, was declared as elected unopposed by Himachal Pradesh Assembly secretary Yash Paul Sharma.
She had filed her nomination on March 13 and the scrutiny of her papers was done on March 16.
Accompanied by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, state BJP chief Rajeev Bindal and Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Goswami was handed over a certificate of her election to the Upper House by state assembly secretary Yash Paul Sharma.
Speaking to the media, the chief minister said the BJP had sought cooperation from the Congress and other opposition parties, and they decided not to field candidates for the Rajya Sabha seat.
The ruling BJP has a total of 44 MLAs in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly.
Two independent MLAs are also supporting the BJP.
Congress has 21 members, whereas the CPI(M) has one MLA in the state assembly.
The BJP's central election committee had on March 12 cleared Goswami's name from the state for the Rajya Sabha election.
Goswami had resigned from the post of chief of state BJP's Mahila Morcha in July last year.
Earlier, she had unsuccessfully contested the last assembly elections from Palampur constituency where she lost to Congress candidate Ashish Butail.
One of the three Rajya Sabha seats from the state will fall vacant as Vipolve Thakur of the Congress is set to retire from the Upper House on April 9.
The other two seats from the hill state are currently represented by BJP national president J P Nadda and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.
Nadda's term in the Rajya Sabha will end in 2024, whereas Sharma's term will be completed in 2022.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had announced elections to 55 Rajya Sabha seats across 17 states of the country on March 26.