With keen eyes on the upcoming biennial Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for the 23rd of this month, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have named eighteen and ten candidates, respectively.
After re-nominating Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravishankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar, JP Nadda and Dharmendra Pradhan last week, BJP’s fresh list includes a good mix of new faces and party veterans.
The saffron party is assured of three seats from Maharashtra this time, so it has decided to field HRD minister Javadekar and former state chief minister Narayan Rane along with V. Muraleedharan, who is a former Kerala BJP party chief.
From Rajasthan, BJP has nominated Kirodi Lal Meena, who joined the party again on Sunday after leaving it a decade ago. BJP general secretary Saroj Pandey has been fielded from poll-bound Chhattisgarh, while party spokerperson Anil Baluni will file his nominations from Uttarakhand.
Other BJP leaders who have been nominated include Madan Lal Saini from Rajasthan, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) DP Vats from Haryana, Ajay Pratap Singh and Kailash Soni from Madhya Pradesh, and Sameer Uranv from Jharkhand. Businessman Rajeev Chandrashekhar, who secured a seat as an independent candidate last time but is seen to be close to BJP, has been named from Karnataka.
BJP’s resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh over a year ago has helped it secure seven seats. The party has decided to fill them up by naming Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, GVL Narasimha Rao and Harnath Singh Yadav from there.
On the other hand, Congress president Rahul Gandhi approved a list of ten candidates, which include only fresh faces as all out going members, barring senior leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, have been denied re-nominations.
While Singhvi will represent the party from West Bengal, Niranbhai Rathwa and Amee Yajnik have been selected over many other seniors from Gujarat. Veteran journalist Kumar Ketkar, who is said to be a supporter of the party’s ideologies, has been named from Maharashtra. Dhiraj Prasad Sahu will contest from Jharkhand, Rajmani Patel from Madhya Pradesh, and Porika Blaram Naik from Telangana.
There had been some differences between Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and the Congress high command as far as nomination of Sam Pitroda was concerned. Given the fact that Karnataka will go to polls this year, Siddaramaiah wanted only Kannadigas to be nominated from there. Consequently, Congress has named L. Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and GC Chandrashekhar.