The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday released a list of 18 candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled to be held next month. The list includes prominent names such as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal.

The polls to fill 57 Rajya Sabha seats across 15 states will be held on June 10. The seats will fall vacant between June 21 and August 1. The last date for filing nominations is May 31 and the last date to withdraw candidature is June 3.

Sitharaman will contest the elections from Karnataka, while Goyal will be a contender from Maharashtra.

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s tenure as a Rajya Sabha member will also end soon, but he has not been nominated by the BJP. The Hindutva party has also not nominated any candidates for Tamil Nadu, where six seats are due to go to polls, NDTV reported.

Congress’ list of candidates

Meanwhile, the Congress is fielding former Finance Minister P Chidambaram from Tamil Nadu. His Rajya Sabha term from Maharashtra is set to end in July. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has said it will back Chidambaram’s candidature from his home state, The Indian Express reported.

The party has nominated 10 leaders from seven states.

All India Congress Committee General Secretary Ajay Maken has been nominated from Haryana. His colleagues in the Congress’ top decision making body, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Mukul Wasnik, will contest from Rajasthan.

However, after the announcement of candidates Congress faced criticism from party members for not nominating veteran leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, who are also part of Group of 23, or G-23, NDTV reported.

The G-23 members have been seeking an organisational overhaul in the Congress since 2020. They have often criticised the party leadership and sought internal elections.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera, who was also not nominated, said in a tweet his penance had probably not been good enough.

The voting for the Rajya Sabha polls will take place from 9 am to 4 pm on June 10, and the votes will be counted at 5 pm on the same day. Among the 57 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party holds 23, while the Congress has eight.

In April, the BJP crossed the 100 seat-mark in the 245-member Rajya Sabha, becoming the first party to have done so since 1990.