The Congress on Sunday announced 10 candidates for the June 10 Rajya Sabha polls, fielding former Union ministers P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and Ajay Maken, as well as the party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
The list includes two leaders — former Union minister Mukul Wasik (Rajasthan) and Vivek Tankha (Madhya Pradesh) — who were among the group of 23 leaders who had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 2020 seeking large scale organizational overhaul.
Chidambaram has been fielded from Tamil Nadu, Ramesh from Karnataka, Maken from Haryana and Surjewala from Rajasthan.
The party also fielded Pramod Tiwari from Rajasthan, former Union minister Rajeev Shukla and Ranjeet Ranjan from Chhattisgarh and Imran Pratapgarhi from Maharashtra.
Of the 10 leaders, five are former Union ministers – Chidambaram, Ramesh, Maken, Shukla and Wasnik.
Three belong to Uttar Pradesh – Shukla, Tiwari and Imran Pratapgarhi, who is also the head of the minority cell of the Congress.
Of the 55 vacancies arising in the Rajya Sabha in the next two months, seven Congress members — Chidambaram (Maharashtra), Ramesh (Karnataka), Ambika Soni (Punjab), Tankha (Madhya Pradesh), Pradeep Tamta (Uttarakhand), Kapil Sibal (Uttar Pradesh) and Chhaya Verma (Chhattisgarh) — will be completing their terms. The Congress is likely to get 10 Rajya Sabha seats in the upcoming election cycle. G-23 leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, who were speculated to be in the list, could not make the cut.
The Congress is likely to gain three seats in the Upper House if it manages to get all the three seats that are falling vacant in Rajasthan.
While the party will get two seats in Chhattisgarh, where it is in power, it will get one seat each in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, where it shares power with other like-minded parties.
The Congress is also likely to get one seat each in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka on the strength of its MLAs in these states.
As for Jharkhand, Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Sunday said the ruling coalition in the state would field a joint candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat it is likely to win and dismissed suggestions that there was any discord with ally Congress.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader, however, did not specify whether the candidate would be from his party or the Congress and said the announcement of the name would be from Ranchi.
Three-time Rajya Sabha member Ramesh will get a fourth term from Karnataka.
Elections will be held on June 10 to fill 57 Rajya Sabha seats from 15 states falling vacant due to the retirement of members on different dates between June and August. The last date for filing nominations is May 31.