Five in fray for four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka

Cheryl Sanders
March 13, 2018

Out of the six states from which BJP candidates for the Upper House polls have been announced, five of them are now ruled by the saffron party.

Polling and counting for the Rajya Sabha elections will held on March 23.

Meanwhile, the BJP has named two-time independent member of the Rajya Sabha from the State and media entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrashekar as the party's sole candidate.

In Madhya Pradesh, party cadres who have worked for years have been rewarded - state vice-president and key election strategist Ajay Pratap Singh, and Kailash Soni, who has held many posts in the organisation. During Muraleedharan's tenure as state president, BJP had secured a vote share of 15.20 per cent in 2016 Lok Sabha election. Chandrasekhar was last time elected to the Rajya Sabha as an independent candidate but has been a vocal supporter of the central government. Three nominated members - actor Rekha, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and social worker Anu Aga - will also retire then.

The BJP has 28 extra votes and needs 37 to get its ninth candidate cruise through. The SP has 47 and the BJP along with its allies has 324 seats.

Among the other names in the Congress list are senior journalist Kumar Ketkar from Maharashtra, as per the list approved by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. On the other hand, BJP fielded one more candidate to "give people an alternative to the Congress candidate".

The BJP has so far only announced the name of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley from Uttar Pradesh for the polls. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao and industrialist Rajeev Chandrashekhar got nominations from Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

Citing reasons for joining BJP, Mr Chandrasekhar said he had a limitation an independent lawmaker had, unlike being a Parliamentarian representing a political party, which carries a lot of weight in the public domain.

Rane, a former Maharashtra chief minister, had quit the Congress a year ago and is believed to have a strong following in the Konkan region.

The Congress has only 27 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly.

The JD (S) which had failed to come to an understanding with the Congress stuck with billionaire business tycoon BM Farooq as its candidate. Both the parties are in a position to send two candidates each to the Rajya Sabha, as the minimum number of votes required per candidate is 38.

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