The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday named 18 nominees for the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha on March 23. Monday is the last date for the candidates to file their nomination for the elections to replace 58 retiring Upper House members.
The BJP’s list includes several of its central office bearers as well as entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who the BJP fielded for the Karnataka seat, and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane, who quit the Congress in October. Chandrasekhar has been an independent candidate in the Rajya Sabha, and his AsiaNet News is Republic TV’s largest investor.
Besides Rane, former Kerala BJP President V Muralidharan is the party’s second candidate from Maharashtra. The BJP nominated party General Secretary Saroj Pandey for the Chhattisgarh seat, Lieutenant General (Retired) DP Vats for the Haryana seat, Adivasi community leader Sameer Oraon for the Jharkhand seat and the party’s media departments chief Anil Baluni from Uttarakhand.
For the seven Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh, the party named BJP General Secretary Anil Jain, Spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao, former farmers’ cell chief Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, former Samajwadi Party leader Ashok Bajpai, Harnath Singh Yadav, Kanta Kardam and Sakal Deep Rajbhar.
Influential caste leader Kirori Lal Meena, who rejoined the BJP on Sunday, and Madan Lal Saini are the party’s nominations from Rajasthan.
In its previous list of candidates released on March 7, the BJP had named a number of central ministers, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley from Uttar Pradesh as well as Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot and Petrol and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan from Madhya Pradesh.
The terms of 58 Rajya Sabha members from 16 states end in April and May. Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of retiring members, at 10, followed by six each in Maharashtra and Bihar, five in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, four in Gujarat and Karnataka, three each in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Rajasthan, two in Jharkhand and one each in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.