New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) Friday saw a slew of leaders from across the political spectrum filing nominations for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election scheduled for March 26. Some amid fanfare and others more subdued filed their papers hoping to make it to the Upper House.
The most significant of them was Jyotiraditya Scindia, Congress turncoat and now BJP leader. Though just three days old in the party, BJP workers accompanied Scindia to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state BJP chief V.D. Sharma were by Scindia’s side when he filed his nomination, believed to have been vehemently blocked earlier by two of his former Congress colleagues — Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh.
Soon after filing his nomination from Madhya Pradesh, Scindia tweeted: “Today I filed my nomination as a party candidate for Rajya Sabha seat along with senior party functionaries.” He tagged BJP’s Twitter handle.
Another prominent face being Congress-turned-BJP leader Bhubaneswar Kalita who too filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha from Assam on Friday. Kalita was accompanied at the Assembly by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and state BJP chief Ranjeet Das.
Kalita resigned from the Rajya Sabha where he was chief whip of the Congress last August and joined the BJP. Kalita had then said he was quitting in protest against the party’s stand opposing the abrogation of Article 370 on Kashmir.
Along with Kalita, senior journalist Ajit Bhuyan too filed his nomination backed by Congress-AIUDF. Veteran Congress leader Tarun Gogoi, AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal and Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora were present by his side while filed his nomination. Bhuyan has been one of the leading figures of anti-CAA protests.
Meanwhile, three candidates from the BJP and two from the Congress on Friday filed nominations for four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat. The Congress has nominated Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki as their candidates while the BJP fielded Abhay Bhardwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin.
After the BJP candidates filed their nominations, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “We are confident that all our candidates will win and we have the support of all the 182 members of the House.”
For the three seats of the Rajya Sabha from Haryana, ruling BJP candidates Dushyant Kumar Gautam and Ram Chander Jangra and Congress candidate Deepender Hooda filed nominations on Friday.
Many believe that Haryana leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda armtwisted the Congress leadership to nominate his son. The three-time MP from Rohtak, Deepender Hooda faced defeat in the last Lok Sabha polls.
Three candidates filed nominations for the two Rajya Sabha seats in Jharkhand on Friday. BJP state president Deepak Prakash and Congress leader Shahzada Anwar filed their nominations on Friday while Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) president Shibu Soren had filed his nomination on March 11.
Prakash was accompanied by Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda, former Chief Minister Raghubar Das and BJP legislative party leader Babulal Marandi when he filed his nomination.
With 29 legislators, the JMM is all set to win one seat while the BJP will look for the support of the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) as it has 25 legislators and the AJSU has two which will make it 27.
In Maharashtra, with seven candidates, including two women, in the fray for the seven Rajya Sabha seats, the stage is set for all getting elected unopposed.
Among the prominent leaders who have filed their nominations are Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, Republican Party of India (A) President and Union minister Ramdas Athawale and BJP’s Chhatrapati Udayan Raje Bhosale, the 13th descendent of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
The others include Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi, who had quit the Congress last year, AICC General Secretary and Congress leader Rajiv Satav, BJP’s Bhagwat Karad and NCP’s Fauzia Khan.
Senior Congress leader and party General Secretary K.C. Venugopal along with Neeraj Dangi on Friday filed their nominations for the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.
Venugopal and Dangi arrived at the state Assembly Secretariat around 12.30 p.m. and submitted their nominations to the returning officer.
In Himachal Pradesh, the state of BJP President J.P. Nadda, Indu Goswami filed her nomination papers as BJP candidate. She is likely to be elected unopposed as the ruling BJP has 44 members in the 68-member Assembly.
Goswami, 53, is a former president of the Himachal Pradesh Mahila Morcha. She unsuccessfully contested the Assembly election in 2017 from Palampur in Kangra district.
A total of 73 Rajya Sabha seats will go to the polls this year, out of which 55 seats will go to polls on March 26. The BJP has 82 members while the Congress has 46 members in the 245-member Upper House.