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The Rajya Sabha (meaning the "Council of States") is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature, science, and social services. These members are known as nominated members. The remainder of the body is elected by state and territorial legislatures. Terms of office are for six years, with one third of the members facing re-election every two years.

The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous session and, unlike the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, is not subject to dissolution. The Rajya Sabha shares legislative powers with the Lok Sabha, except in the area of supply, where the Lok Sabha has overriding powers. In the case of conflicting legislation, a joint sitting of the two houses is held.However, since the Lok Sabha has more than twice as many members than the Rajya Sabha, it holds de facto veto power in such joint sessions.

The Vice-President of India (currently, Hamid Ansari) is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who is elected from amongst its members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman.

The Rajya Sabha held its first sitting on 13 May 1952.

Qualifications required to become a member

To become a member of the Rajya Sabha, a person must be a citizen of Indiamarker, not less than 30 years of age. He or she should be mentally sound and should not be bankrupt. He or she must also declare in an affidavit to be free from criminal procedures. For reserved seats it is a requirement to be member of a scheduled caste or tribe, or both. One can also be appointed by the President of India.


Members are elected by the Legislative Assembly of Each State. Like the Canadianmarker Senate and Germanmarker Bundesratmarker, seats in the Rajya Sabha take a middle course between proportional and equal representation: while large states have more seats than small states, small states still have disproportionately high representation. The numbers of seats as of 2006 are, according to the official website:

No. State No. of seats
1 Andhra Pradeshmarker 18 (all)
2 Arunachal Pradeshmarker 1 (all)
3 Assammarker 7 (all)
4 Biharmarker 16 (all)
5 Chhattisgarhmarker 5 (all)
6 Goamarker 1 (all)
7 Gujaratmarker 11 (all)
8 Haryanamarker 5 (all)
9 Himachal Pradeshmarker 3 (all)
10 Jammu & Kashmirmarker 4 (all)
11 Jharkhandmarker 6 (all)
12 Karnatakamarker 12 (all)
13 Keralamarker 9 (all)
14 Madhya Pradeshmarker 11 (all)
15 Maharashtramarker 19 (all)
16 Manipurmarker 1 (all)
17 Meghalayamarker 1 (all)
18 Mizorammarker 1 (all)
19 Nagalandmarker 1 (all)
20 National Capital Territory of Delhi 3 (all)
21 Nominated 12
22 Orissamarker 10 (all)
23 Pondicherrymarker 1 (all)
24 Punjabmarker 7 (all)
25 Rajasthanmarker 10 (all)
26 Sikkimmarker 1 (all)
27 Tamil Nadumarker 18 (all)
28 Tripuramarker 1 (all)
29 Uttar Pradeshmarker 31 (all)
30 Uttarakhandmarker 3 (all)
31 West Bengalmarker 16 (all)
Total: 245

Elections in within the state legislatures are held using single transferable votes with proportional representation.



The members of the Rajya Sabha from each state are elected by the members of the Legislature (Legislative Assembly) or MPs of that state by means of proportional representation through the Single Transferable Vote System. The representatives of the Union Territories are chosen in such manner as may be decided or prescribed by the Parliament from time to time.

Leadership of the Rajya Sabha

As of 2009, the officers of the Rajya Sahba are as follows:

Elected Members

There are 238 elected members, who represent the 28 states and 7 Union Territories,including the National Capital territory, New Delhi. Seats are allotted to them on the basis of their population. For example, Uttar Pradesh with a population of nearly 200,000,000 is represented in the Rajya Sabha by 31 members, which is the largest. However, representation in the Rajya Sabha still greatly favors the small states: although Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura send only one member each to the Rajya Sabha, if Uttar Pradesh was represented in the Rajya Sabha at the same rate that the largest of these (Tripura), it would have 63 members, more than twice its current number.

Nominated Members

Under article 80 of the Constitution, out of the 250 members of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), 12 are nominated by the President of India from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in the fields such as literature, science, art or social service.

Since its inception in 1952, 105 members have been nominated so far, for a term of 6-year each, and with an added provision that one-third of the members shall retire every two years.

Members by Party

Source: Election Commission of India (as of 7/05/2009)
Alliances (after 2009 election) Party MPs
United Progressive Alliance

Seats: 83
Indian National Congress 67
Nationalist Congress Party 4
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 4
All India Trinamool Congress 2
National Conference 2
Indian Union Muslim League 1
Bodoland People's Front 1
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 1
National Democratic Alliance

Seats: 63
Bharatiya Janata Party 47
Janata Dal 6
Shiv Sena 4
Shiromani Akali Dal 3
Asom Gana Parishad 2
Rashtriya Lok Dal 1
Third Front

Seats: 32
Communist Party of India 15
Communist Party of India 5
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 7
Telugu Desam Party 2
All India Forward Bloc 1
Pattali Makkal Katchi 1
Revolutionary Socialist Party 1
Parties supporting UPA from outside

Seats: 33
Samajwadi Party 13
Bahujan Samaj Party 11
Rashtriya Janata Dal 4
Janata Dal 2
Lok Janshakti Party 1
Sikkim Democratic Front 1
Nagaland People's Front 1

Seats: 9
Other Parties and Independents

Seats: 12
Vacant Seats

Seats: 14
Total 248

See also


Further reading

External links

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