New Delhi: The Congress has selected 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 organisational overhaul, mentioned a PTI report.
Speculations were rife that G-23 leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma will also be among the candidates for the upcoming upper house elections but they could make the cut.
G-23 leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, who were speculated to be in the list, could not make the cut. The G-23 has weakened over time with senior leader M Veerappa Moily distancing himself from the group, Jitin Prasada joining the BJP, Sibal quitting the party and Wasnik not attending its meetings in recent times.
Chidambaram has been fielded from Tamil Nadu, Ramesh from Karnataka, Maken from Haryana and Surjewala from Rajasthan, according to the list released by the party.
The Congress 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.
Interestingly, Congress has opted for ‘outsiders’ in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the two states in which the party is in power on its own.
After the announcement of the candidates, discontentment brew within the party as many leaders were not happy with the high command’s decision
Congress MLA from Sirohi in Rajasthan, Sanyam Lodha has raised the question and said that the party will have to explain why no one was nominated from Rajasthan.
“The Congress party should tell what is the reason for not making any Congress leader/worker from Rajasthan, a candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections?” he wrote in a tweet on Sunday.
Pawan Kheda, who hails from Rajasthan, was a contender for Rajya Sabha in Congress. But his name is also not included in the list. After the release of the list, he tweeted, “Maybe there is something missing in my penance.”
While the grand-old apparently opted for lightweight candidates like Imran Pratapgarhi and Ranjeet Ranjan for the Rajya Sabha polls, contrary to speculation about accommodating veterans, party leader Nagma showed disapproval of the list and wrote on Twitter, “Our 18 years of penance also fell short in front of Imran Bhai.”
BJP Slams Congress for not selecting local candidates from Rajasthan
Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia has also taken a jibe at the Congress party. He tweeted in Hindi and wrote, “Congress’s Chintan Shivir took place in Rajasthan. Now look at another achievement of this thinking. Observe the quota of local candidates….without ‘local’ who will be ‘vocal’..?”
Congress is likely to get 10 seats in Rajya Sabha this year
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.
The party is also 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 is set to 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.
(with PTI and ANI inputs)