The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday announced the names of 18 candidates, including former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane, for the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha from nine states.
Two BJP leaders Ajay Pratap Singh and Kailash Soni will be trying their luck for Upper House from Madhya Pradesh.
Anil Baluni, the national head of the BJP's media wing, has been named from Uttarakhand, while Saroj Pandey, who is presently the general secretary of the party, has been named from Chattisgarh.
Today was the last day for filing nominations for the Rajya Sabha polls. The polling and counting will take place on March 23.
Reports say that former BJP state president and national executive committee member V Muraleedharan, who might become a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, might become a Union Minister as well.
Of the 21 seats set to fall vacant, the NCP presently holds eight, the Congress and the BJP four each, the Shiv Sena -two, while the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), the Lok Bharati and an Independent member hold one each. The Congress which has seven MLAs has also chose to support the BSP candidate. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Patel and state party president Jitu Vaghani, who is also an MLA, held a meeting. The party has fielded candidates for 9 states only.
Having faced desertion of four out of its six Bihar legislative council members earlier this month, the Congress was considered vulnerable in the event of a contest for the sixth seat.
"The BJP, which has 122 MLAs, is barely in a position to get three candidates elected but the fourth has been brought in with a sinister design", a Congress source said.
While Singhvi will represent the party from West Bengal, Niranbhai Rathwa and Amee Yajnik have been selected over many other seniors from Gujarat. But getting their support would need deft political management from the Congress leadership. The three candidates are L Hanumanthaiah, Naseer Hussain and G.C Chandrashekar - a Dalit, A Muslim, and a Vokkaligga (a dominant OBC community), respectively. Congress spokesperson Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who is among the five retiring members, could not make to the list.
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