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Last Day of Filing Nominations for Rajya Sabha Polls, Close Fight Expected in Several Seats

The BJP, in power at the Centre, has 82 members in the Upper House while the Congress has 46 members in the 245-member House.
Last Day of Filing Nominations for Rajya Sabha

Image for representational use only.Image Courtesy : NDTV

The last day for filing nominations for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections is today, March 13. A total of 73 Rajya Sabha seats will go to polls this year, out of which 55 seats will go to polls on March 26. Sixty nine Rajya Sabha members are set to retire this year, including 18 members from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 17 from the Congress. The BJP, in power at the Centre, has 82 members in the Upper House while the Congress has 46 members in the 245-member House.

Most political parties have released their list of candidates for the upcoming polls. On Wednesday, the BJP released a list of nine candidates for eight states and left two seats for allies- one each in Maharashtra and Assam. Aside from Jyotiraditya Scindia from Madhya Pradesh, the party named candidates from Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Assam, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Manipur. From Bihar, the BJP candidate for the Upper House is Vivek Thakur, son of former Union Minister C.P. Thakur. In Jharkhand, the saffron party named its recently elected state president, Deepak Prakash. From Gujarat, the party named Ramilaben Bara, who had lost the assembly election from Khedbrahma constituency in 2017, and Abhay Bhardwaj, who was the defence lawyer in the Gulbarg Society case.

From Rajasthan, the party named its state vice-president Rajendra Gehlot. In Assam, the party renominated Bhubaneswar Kalita, who had quit the Congress in 2019. The second seat from the state has gone to Biswajit Daimary from the BJP’s ally, the Bodoland People’s Front. In Maharashtra, the party has named Udayanraje Bhosale while the other seat has gone to Ramdas Athawale, leader of the Republican Party of India, another ally. From Manipur, the party has named Leisemba Maharaja.

BJP candidates from Haryana were announced on Thursday. The party has named Ram Chandra Jangra and national Vice-President Dushyant Gautam, a Dalit leader from Haryana. On the same day, the party also named Sumer Singh Solanki as its other candidate from Madhya Pradesh. From Himachal Pradesh, the party has nominated Indu Goswami.

On Thursday, the Congress declared nine candidates for the upcoming polls, including party General Secretary K.C. Venugopal, Rajiv Satav, and senior Supreme Court advocate K.T.S. Tulsi. From Madhya Pradesh, Congress named former MP CM and Union Minister, Digvijaya Singh, and Phool Singh Baraiya. The party has named Tulsi and Phulo Devi Netam from Chhattisgarh, Shahzada Anwar from Jharkhand, Rajiv Satav from Maharashtra, Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi from Rajasthan and Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem from Meghalaya.

In West Bengal, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee on Sunday named four former Lok Sabha members as the party’s nominees in the Rajya Sabha elections to five seats in the state. The seats will be vacant due to the end of tenures of painter Jogen Chowdhury, former bureaucrat-turned-minister Manish Gupta, industrialist K.D. Singh and newspaper editor Ahmed Hassan Imran, on April 2. The four candidates named by TMC are former Minister of Railways Dinesh Trivedi, theatre personality Arpita Ghosh, former Congress MP Mausam Noor and Subrata Bakshi. Of these four nominees, Trivedi, Ghosh, and Noor had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but lost.

Former Kolkata Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya has been named as the consensus candidate of both the Congress and CPI(M) for the polls.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress declared its candidates for four Rajya Sabha seats from Andhra Pradesh. Reddy has named his Deputy Chief Minister Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose and Minister Mopidevi Venkataraman, businessman Ayodhya Rami Reddy and Reliance Industries' Parimal Nathwani as the party’s nominees to the Rajya Sabha.

The Telugu Desam Party had said that it will not contest the Rajya Sabha election, as it does not have enough strength in the assembly. However, in a surprising turn of events, on Tuesday, the party named its General Secretary Varla Ramaiah as their candidate for the Rajya Sabha election. “If the YSR Congress legislators feel what we have done is good, they will vote for TDP. If they fear Jagan, they will vote for YSR Congress. We will not approach anyone for votes," said TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu when asked about their candidates' prospects. He said theirs was “a just stand” and that the YSR Congress legislators should decide if their selection was right or wrong.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) announced its candidates for two Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar on Thursday, rebuffing its ally the Congress, which had been demanding one seat. At a press meet, RJD state president Jagadanand Singh announced Prem Chandra Gupta and Amarendra Dhari Singh as the two names for the five seats that will go to polls.

The ruling Janata Dal (United) in Bihar has re-nominated the journalist-turned-parliamentarian Harivansh for a second term in the Upper House. He is presently Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Since the JD(U) has enough numbers in the Assembly (70 MLAs in the 243-member House), it has again nominated Ramnath Thakur for a Rajya Sabha seat.

The Congress-Jharkhand Mukti Morcha alliance in Jharkhand named JMM president Shibu Soren as their candidate and the veteran leader filed his nomination papers on Wednesday.

In Assam, the Congress-AIUDF combine named its common candidate journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) named the party president Sharad Pawar as its candidate from Maharashtra. Shiv Sena has named former Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi as its candidate from Maharashtra.

In Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Monday announced names of three candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. The ruling party in the state named former Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai and senior leader K.P. Munusamy as candidates for the biennial election to the Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu while allotting only one seat to ally Tamil Maanila Congress, for its chief G.K. Vasan.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) also announced its candidates, which include party strongman ‘Tiruchi’ Siva. ‘Anthiyur’ Selvaraj and N.R. Elango are the other two candidates to contest in polls, party president M.K. Stalin said in a statement on Sunday.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has fielded four candidates in Odisha for elections to Rajya Sabha seats. The party named Subhash Singh, Munna Khan, Sujeet Kumar and Mamata Mahanta as its candidates.

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