RS polls: 7 candidates throw hats into the ring for 6 seats

Union minister Prakash Javadekar and sitting Rajya Sabha members Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) and Vandana Chavan (NCP) filed their papers last week.

Other key candidates include a retired Lt. Gen. close to Congress' ex-Haryana CM Hooda, and two of its own general secretaries.

"The BJP, which has 122 MLAs, is barely in a position to get three candidates elected but the fourth has been brought in with a sinister design", a Congress source said.

However, the entry of Valera, a former IAS officer and current general secretary of the Gujarat Congress, has made the elections interesting. Initially, the caste combination that the party was aiming for was the Dalit-minority-Lingayat one but after various rounds of talks, it became evident that Lingayats had been given adequate representation through Water Resource Minister MB Patil, senior Congress leader SR Patil and various other leaders.

The Rajya Sabha entry of V Muraleedharan, an outright Sangh Parivar activist and an impressive leader, has surely motivated the BJP workers in the state who were left baffled by the RS tickets extended by the party to new comers like Suresh Gopi and Alphons Kannanthanam. However, Congress leaders rubbished it as a rumour and reiterated that the tribal leader would arrive to file his nomination.

Before going to Assembly, BJP's Rajya Sabha candidates reached BJP Headquarters and garlanded the statues of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, Kushabhau Thakre and Rajmata Scindia. Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel alleged, "Congress continues to suffer from factionalism". The choice of Rathwa shows the indecisiveness of Congress central leadership.

Their names were announced by the party on Sunday. But the poll arithmetic in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha and RJD's surplus votes prevented it. Ketkar has been nominated from Maharashtra and Porika Balram Naik from Telangana. In Gujarat 3 candidates have been fielded where the party is certain of winning 2.

"We are waiting for the court verdict, but I will like to say that our Ram temple, for sure, will come up at the place where Ram Lala is resting.He (Ram idol) will continue (to remain) on the spot", he said, adding, "That land belongs to Lord Ram".

Monday was the last day to file nomination papers.

In the 182-member House, the ruling BJP has 99 MLAs while the opposition Congress 77.

Chandresekhar's nomination figures on top of a list of 10 points the Congress hurled against the BJP in a charge sheet.

  • Leroy Wright