The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday announced dates for bypolls to seven Rajya Sabha seats that have fallen vacant due to various reasons like resignations, death and end of tenure of members. According to a notification issued by the EC, there are two such seats in Tamil Nadu and one each in West Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra, Puducherry and Madhya Pradesh.
The Madhya Pradesh Rajya Sabha (RS) seat got vacant after BJP leader and former Union cabinet minister Thaawarchand Gehlot was elevated as the Karnataka Governor in July.
The polls to all these seven seats will take place on October 4, the EC said.
The two seats in Tamil Nadu fell vacant due to the resignation of AIADMK leaders KP Munusamy and R Vaithilingam who are now members of the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly.
The West Bengal Rajya Sabha seat fell vacant after resignation of TMC leader and cabinet minister in West Bengal government Manas Ranjan Bhunia.
In Assam, the seat held by assembly speaker Biswajit Daimary fell vacant after he resigned from the membership of the upper house of Parliament and his earlier party, the Bodoland People's Front, and joined the BJP before the recent polls in the state.
The BJP may field Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal from the Assam seat as he is yet to become a member of either house of Parliament. The Maharashtra seat got vacant due to the death of Congress leader Rajeev Satav in May this year due to COVID-19 infection.
In Puducherry, the RS seat will fall vacant soon as the term of incumbent member N Gokulakrishnan ends on October 6.
The EC said in its order that all "broad guidelines of COVID-19" have to be followed during the election process, that is from the time of issue of notification to the counting of votes.
"The chief secretaries of states concerned are being directed to depute a senior officer from the state to ensure that the extant instructions regarding COVID-19 containment measures are complied with while making arrangements for conducting the election," the poll panel said.