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Hectic lobbying in BJP for RS seats, top guns in race; list by March 11

Four former CMs, top leaders jockeying for nomination; elections to 55 seats

Agency Report | New Delhi | 5 March, 2020 | 09:10 PM

Hectic lobbying is going on in the BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections on 55 seats, as many of its leaders from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand are hoping to get a nomination.

Among those keen are former chief ministers from these states.

Former Chhattisgarh chief minister and BJP National Vice President Raman Singh, Madhya Pradesh former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, former Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti are also in the race to the Rajya Sabha.

The party is likely to release the list of candidates two days ahead of the nomination which begins on March 11.

Sources say that former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis are hopeful for the return of the party in the government in their respective states and hence are not interested in coming to the Centre. But, according to party sources, if the party decides, then Fadnavis, Chouhan and Raghubar Das will have to move to the Rajya Sabha.

Apart from this, many prominent leaders of the BJP want to return to the Rajya Sabha again and for that they are constantly making the rounds of the party’s top leaders. Rajya Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh Prabhat Jha wants to return to the Rajya Sabha again. There is also a talk of bringing the BJP’s general secretary Ram Madhav to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh quota.

Former Union Minister and Delhi leader Vijay Goel’s Rajya Sabha term from Rajasthan is also coming to an end and is said to be hoping for a return. But, according to reports, none of the three Rajya Sabha MPs, who are retiring from Rajasthan, are likely to return to the Rajya Sabha.

Out of the three seats of the Rajya Sabha in Odisha, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will get two and the BJP one. BJP’s national vice president Vijayant Panda can be sent to the Upper House from Odisha. The BJP will win one seat in Odisha for which the party will have to seek support from the BJD.

The BJP is also getting two seats from Maharashtra. There is a discussion about the name of Fadnavis for one seat, sources said. The second seat could go to Union Minister Ramdas Athawale as both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah want to bring Athawale to the Rajya Sabha. A BJP general secretary said, “There is no discussion in the party on this yet. The final decision will be taken by the BJP leadership.”

In Bihar, the JDU and the BJP alliance were expected to get three seats in the Rajya Sabha elections. Veteran BJP leaders C.P. Thakur and R.K. Sinha from Bihar are lobbying to return to the upper house. However, BJP may go for a new face from Bihar, sources said. Some influential leaders may be brought to the Centre from the state this time.

Mukul Roy, who left Trinamool Congress and joined the BJP in West Bengal, has been waiting for an entry to the Rajya Sabha for a long time. In West Bengal, elections are going to be held on five Rajya Sabha seats. But due to the current numbers in the state Assembly, only the TMC candidates are going to win these seats. Therefore, Mukul Roy’s chances are dim. (IANS)