Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls: A must-win for both Congress and BJP

Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls: A must-win for both Congress and BJP

Five candidates, including three from the ruling Congress and one each from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) filed nominations for the biennial election to four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, an EC official said on Monday.

The biggies from all states made a beeline to file their nomination papers.

Senior BJP leaders Thawar Chand Gehlot, Dharmendra Pradhan, Ajay Pratap Singh and Kailash Soni along with Congress's Rajmani Patel filed their nominations from Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP list has Anil Jain and Saroj Pandey, its spokespersons Anil Baluni and G V L Narasimha Rao, according to a party statement.

In Kerala, MP Veerendra Kumar, who walked out of Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) a year ago, filed his nomination as an independent candidate. Voting, if needed, will be held on 23 March.

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BJP strategists are eyeing disgruntled elements in the Samajwadi party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BJP) along with the Congress in order to facilitate its ninth candidate to win. After filing his nomination for Rajya Sabha at the state assembly, he said that the issue of value added tax (VAT) on petroleum products will also be discussed with the states after the RS elections. The BJP has announced a list of 18 candidates while the Congress came up with a list of 10.

Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Mansukh L. Mandaviya and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala will contest election from Gujarat.

After scrutiny of papers on Tuesday, all the six candidates are likely to be declared elected unopposed. "Only the candidates who have ground-level support, match the caste combination of the constituency and knows what to do to win in the said constituency will be given the ticket", sources said.

"There is infighting in the Congress and they are confused about their candidates".

Not wanting to take any chances, the Congress has also fielded party leader P. K. Valera as an independent candidate, as a backup arrangement. He dismissed the remarks of former Bihar Congress president Ashok Choudhary, who is now in JD-U, that a split was imminent in the Congress. BM Farooq filed nomination as a JDS candidate.

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