Nominations for the country’s biggest biennial poll for the Rajya Sabha to elect 55 members from 16 States began on Tuesday with President Pranab Mukherjee issuing the notification.

The poll, if necessary, will be held on February 7, 2014 and the counting of votes taken up the same day at 5 p.m. in the premises of the State Legislative Assemblies. The Secretaries of the State Assemblies will be the returning officers for the poll normally in their State.

The poll is being held to fill up the vacancies, which will arise between April 2 and 12, and as many as 20 members of the Congress are retiring during the period. From the BJP, 13 members are retiring in view of completion of their term in the Upper House. It is four from the CPI(M), three from the JD(U), two each from the NCP, the DMK, the Shiv Sena and the BJD, and one each from the AIADMK, the RJD, the AIFB, the BPF, the TDP and the AGP, and an independent member.

Union Ministers G.K. Vasan, former Chief Minister of Manipur Rishang Keishing, former Union Ministers Murli S. Deora, Jayanti Natarajan, T. Subbarami Reddy, C.P. Thakur and Premchand Gupta, BJP leaders Prakash Javedkar and Balbir Punj, Congress leaders Motilal Vora, Shanta Kumar and K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao (close aide of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekara Reddy), and N.T. Rama Rao’s son Nandamuri Harikrishna (TDP) are among the Rajya Sabha members whose term will expire in April.

Maharashtra tops the list with the poll to be held for seven RS seats from the State. It is followed by Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh (six each), West Bengal and Bihar (five each), Odisha and Gujarat (four each), Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan (three each), Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand (two each) and Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya (one each).

The last date for filing nomination for the poll is January 28, 2014. On January 29, 2014 the papers will be scrutinised. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is January 31, 2014 and the poll will be held between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on February 7, 2014.

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