Rajya Sabha nominations: Congress' Naransinh Rathwa, Amee Yagnik file from Gujarat

Ceria Alfonso
Marcha 14, 2018

For the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have declared the names of the candidates for the election to be held on 23rd March 2018.

Likewise, BJP fielded Narayan Rane and Kerala's BJP state president V Murlidhar as its candidate for Rajya Sabha polls. Congress spokesperson Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who is among the five retiring members, could not make to the list.

A prominent omission from the BJP list is that of Vinay Katiyar whose term is due to expire now.

According to an announcement by the BJP general secretary J P Nadda here on Sunday, Mr Rane, a former Sena leader and who was also with Congress since 2005, will be BJP candidate from Maharashtra.

Industrialist Rajeev Chandrasekhar finally shed his "independent" status to join the BJP.

Rane will contest from Maharashtra, Chandrasekhar from Karnataka, Baluni from Uttarakhand, Pande from Chhattisgarh.

The selection of Meena, whose equations with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje are known to have been strained, is seen as an initiative against perceived anti-incumbency.

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With Chandrashekar assured of victory by virtue of the BJP having 48 votes, the contest will be for the fourth seat between the Congress and the JD-S, whose strength got reduced to 37 after three of its members were suspended for revolting against its leadership.

In comments that came for criticism from within the BJP, Agarwal said at the press conference at the BJP headquarters in the afternoon that the SP rejected his re-nomination to "accommodate someone who dances in Bollywood".

The others include Sakaldeep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, GVL Narsimha Rao, Ashok Bajpayi, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar and Harnath Singh Yadav. All four seats are now represented by the BJP, including one by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has been moved to Uttar Pradesh, since the party does not have adequate numbers to win all four seats. While the BJP is poised to win its all four seats, the Congress is expected to wrest one seat. NDA is set to get a big surge in the upper house when votes are counted.

Amee Yajnik and Naranbhai Rathwa are the candidates from Gujarat.

Since no other candidate is expected to file nomination, formal announcement of unopposed election of candidates is likely to be made on March 15 after the deadline for withdrawal of candidature ends.

Rajya Sabha nominations need the support of 10 MLAs. The Congress has little chance of getting its nominee elected from Telangana. Consequently, Congress has named L. Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and GC Chandrashekhar. Since they are officially the Congress MLAs as per records, the party can bring a psychological pressure on them by issuing a whip to vote for the official candidate. However, the fight will be between the third candidate of the Congress and JDS's Farooq. The Congress which has seven MLAs has also chose to support the BSP candidate.

Congress's candidate and senior journalist, Kumar Ketkar, has also filed his nomination on Monday. Stalwarts like former union minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Milind Deora and Rajiv Shukla were in race.

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