BJP, Congress gear up for Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections

BJP, Congress gear up for Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections

Congress on Monday nominated senior journalist Kumar Ketkar from Maharashtra and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominated state women's commission president Vijaya Rahatkar's name for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.

Elections to 58-Rajya Sabha seats are scheduled for March 23, but saw much drama across the political spectrum on the last day of filing of nominations on Monday.

In Maharashtra, where its age-old alliance with the Shiv Sena looks to be all but over, the party has made a decision to support former chief minister Narayan Rane. On Wednesday, the BJP had renominated to the Rajya Sabha all eight Union Ministers, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, apart from its General Secretary and key strategist Bhupender Yadav from Rajasthan.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, on the other hand, joined hands with Congress in Jharkhand for the Rajya Sabha polls after several days of parleys.

Ketkar, a regular on TV news debates, filed his papers in the presence of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel won the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat in August a year ago by a narrow margin.

Congress is likely to support BSP's lone candidate in UP so that they are able to seal the deal for 2019.

In Gujarat, the Congress list has created division among leaders.

UP BJP vice-president JPS Rathore told PTI, "The party has fielded 11 candidates for the ongoing Rajya Sabha elections from UP". The BJP will be putting up three candidates, the Congress two, and there will be an independent candidate.

The Congress has named Babu Prasad as the UDF opposition candidate from Kerala.

For the two seats in Gujarat, supporters of state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and Shaktisinh Gohil were lobbying hard.

In terms of caste equation, the party has chose to field Naseer Hussain, a minority community leader from Ballari, L. Hanumanthaiah, a dalit from Bengaluru Rural and G.C. Chandrashekar a Vokkaliga from Hassan.

Patel said the BJP fielded Rana, former MLA of Limbdi, as a third nominee to take advantage of infighting in the Congress.