Election to five Rajya Sabha seats in Punjab March 26

Chandigarh, March 9 (IANS) Election to five Rajya Sabha seats from Punjab falling vacant next month will be held March 26, officials said Tuesday.

There are seven Rajya Sabha seats in the state, five of which are falling vacant April 9.

These seats are currently held by Sports Minister Manohar Singh Gill, former union minister Ashwini Kumar, Varinder Singh, Dharam Pal and Naresh Gujral, son for former prime minister I.K. Gujral.

Gill, a former chief election commissioner, is likely to get re-nomination from the Congress since he is the sports minister in a year when India will host the Commonwealth Games.

The Akali Dal, which has 51 legislators in the 117-member assembly and rules Punjab in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is likely to win three seats.

The Akalis are likely to put up their candidates for two seats and leave one seat for the BJP. A strong Akali Dal contender is former union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

Naresh Gujral, a leader of the Akali Dal, could also be re-nominated.

The Congress, which has 42 legislators in the assembly, is likely to win two Rajya Sabha seats. The party had three Rajya Sabha MPs among the five seats that go for polling this month.

The last date for filing nominations is March 16. Polling will take place March 26.

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