New Delhi : The Bhartiya Janata Party will gain at least a dozen seats in the Rajya Sabha biennial poll on March 23, raising its tally to 70, while the Congress will lose 12 to 14 from its present strength of 54.

The Opposition, however, will continue to have a majority in the House of 245 as the BJP does not make it beyond 90 even by counting its allies including JD(U) 7, Akali Dal and Shiv Sena 3 each and PDP 2.

The Election Commission on Friday announced the byennial elections for 58 seats and a by-election for one seat that fell vacant from JD(U) member Veerendra Kumar’s resignation from Kerala.

The list of vacancies it declared, however, does not tally with the Rajya Sabha’s list of the MPs retiring in April and May as it shows only 55 to retire. There is one vacancy less than the EC list in each of Bihar(6), West Bengal(5) and Telangana(3) states.

The biennial elections are being held to fill the vacancies falling in April and May. Eight union ministers are among those retiring, but they will find no difficulty in getting re-elected.

They are: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, MoS for Road Transport Mansukh Mandaviya and MoS agriculture Parshottam Rupala from Gujarat, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan from Bihar, Health Miniser J P Nadda from Himachal Pradesh, and HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot from Madhya Pradesh.

Those from the Congress who may find it difficult to get re-elected include party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Narendra Budania from Rajasthan, Renuka Chowdhury from Andhra Pradesh, Satyavrat Chaturvedi from Madhya Pradesh, Pramod Tiwari from Uttar Pradesh, Mahendra Singh Mahra from Uttarakhand and Shadilal Batra from Haryana.

The BJP will be the biggest gainer in Uttar Pradesh where 10 MPs are retiring, six of them belonging to the Samajwadi Party, including most vocal Naresh Agrawal and Jaya Bachchan.

In Rajasthan, the Congress may find difficulty to get elected Singhvi or Budania while it will be a cakewalk for the third retiring MP Bhupender Yadav, the national general secretary of the BJP.

Important leaders retiring in April include Rajeev Shukla and Rajani Patil (Cong), D P Tripathi and Vandana Chavan (NCP), Ajay Sancheti (BJP) and Anil Desai(Shiv Sena)from Maharashtra, and former Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Rahman Khan from Karnataka.

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