The Hindu Businessline, March 18, 2020
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh were among 37 candidates elected unopposed on Wednesday to the Rajya Sabha, as the deadline for withdrawal of nomination ended.
Nominations had been filed for 55 Rajya Sabha seats in 17 states for the March 26 election.
Out of these, candidates were declared elected unopposed to all seven seats in Maharashtra, six seats in Tamil Nadu, two seats each in Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, four seats in Odisha, five seats each in Bihar and West Bengal, three seats in Assam and one seat in Himachal Pradesh by the Returning Officers as no other candidates were in the fray.
Priyanka Chaturvedi, who had quit the Congress last year and joined the Shiv Sena, AIADMK leader and former Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai, Tamil Maanila Congress president GK Vasan, veteran lawyer KTS Tulsi and Congress party’s Deepender Singh Hooda were among other prominent candidates elected to the Upper House
BJP, Congress win more seats
The BJP bagged seven seats — two in Haryana, three in Maharashtra and one each in Himachal Pradesh and Bihar. The BJP also bagged the seat in Haryana where bypoll was held following the resignation of former Union minister and party leader Birender Singh. Its allies JD(U) got two (from Bihar), AIADMK two (Tamil Nadu) and BPF one (Assam).
The Trinamool Congress and the Biju Janata Dal got four each in West Bengal and Odisha respectively. The TRS won the two seats in Telangana.
The Congress got four seats — two in Chhattisgarh and one each in Haryana and Maharashtra. Its allies RJD got two (Bihar), DMK got three (Tamil Nadu), NCP bagged two (Maharashtra) and Shiv Sena got one (Maharashtra). The CPI (M) got one in West Bengal, while an independent candidate, backed by the Congress and AIUDF, was also elected in Assam.
Elections will be held on March 26 for the remaining 18 Rajya Sabha seats: four each in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two in Jharkhand and one each in Manipur and Meghalaya.
NCP leader Pawar and Union minister of state for social justice Ramdas Athawale, both sitting members, were among seven elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. RPI leader Athawale was backed by the BJP.
The others elected from the state were BJP’s Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and Bhagwat Karad, Congress general secretary Rajiv Satav, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi and former NCP minister Fauzia Khan.
In Chhattisgarh, Congress nominees KTS Tulsi and Phulo Devi Netam were declared elected unopposed. The opposition BJP did not field its candidate in view of its low strength in the assembly.
Congress party’s Deepender Singh Hooda, who was a three-time Lok Sabh MP from Rohtak, along with BJP nominees Ram Chander Jangra, a backward class leader, were declared elected to the Upper House from Haryana. They will have a full term till April 2026.
BJP vice president Dushyant Kumar Gautam was elected from the seat where bypoll was held following the resignation of BJP leader Birender Singh. His term would last till August 2022.
All the four BJD candidates in Odisha — Subhas Singh, Munna Khan, Sujit Kumar and Mamata Mahanta — were declared elected as opposition BJP and Congress did not field any nominee.
Though four Independent candidates had filed nomination papers, their candidature were rejected for not having the required 10 MLAs as proposers.
While Singh, an OBC, is a trade unionist, Khan is a party old-timer and close associate of late BJD founder Biju Patnaik. Kumar was an adviser to the Special Development Council while Mahanta is a BJD women’s wing member from Mayurbhanj district.
All five candidates in Bihar — two each belonging to the JD(U) and the RJD and one from the BJP — we declared unopposed as no other candidates had filed nomination
The JD(U) candidates are Harivansh Narayan Singh, currently the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and Ram Nath Thakur, the son of former chief minister Karpoori Thakur, both of whom will be serving their second consecutive terms.
BJP candidate Vivek Thakur, a former MLC who makes his parliamentary debut, is the son of former Union minister CP Thakur whose Rajya Sabha tenure ends next month.
The RJD candidates are Prem Chand Gupta, a close aide of party supremo Lalu Prasad who hails from Haryana and had served as a minister in the UPA-1 government at the Centre, and Amarendra Dhari Singh, an entrepreneur not known for prior involvement in politics.
Singh’s candidature had caused a flutter in the five-party Grand Alliance headed by the RJD, as he is a Bhumihar, the upper caste known to be most vocally opposed to Lalu Prasad in Bihar.
Former Himachal Pradesh president of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha, Indu Goswami, was declared elected unopposed from the lone seat in the state.
In West Bengal, Trinamool Congress candidates Arpita Ghosh, Dinesh Trivedi, Subrata Bakshi and Mausam Noor, and CPI(M)’s Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, backed by the Congress, were declared elected after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers at 3 pm, they said.
After TMC-backed Independent candidate Dinesh Bajaj’s nomination was cancelled due to technical reasons on Tuesday, voting scheduled on March 26 was done away with.
In Assam, sitting Bodo Peoples’ Front(BPF) MP Biswajit Daimary, BJP’s Bhubaneswar Kalita and Congress-AIUDF supported independent candidate and senior journalist Ajit Bhuyan were elected to the upper house. BPF is an ally of ruling BJP.
Daimary was re-elected with the support of BJP and its allies BPF and AGP along with Kalita, who had vacated his seat on joining the saffron party after quitting the Congress. He was at the forefront of the movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Assam.
In Telangana, both the candidates of the ruling TRS — Keshava Rao and Suresh Reddy — have been elected.
A keen battle is on the cards in Madhya Pradesh, where the Kamal Nath government is on a sticky wicket following a rebellion by at least 22 MLAs, as both the BJP and the Congress have announced two candidates each for the state’s three seats.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, who recently left the Congress to join the BJP, and Congress leader Digvijay Singh are expected to comfortably win in the polls.
The BJP’s Sumer Singh Solanki and Phool Singh Baraiya of the Congress are likely to slug it out for the third seat.
The two parties are comfortably placed to ensure the win of one of their candidates. However, after the resignation of six Congress MLAs was accepted and the prevailing uncertainty over 16 others, who have put in their papers, it may be difficult for the Congress to win the second second seat.
Gujarat is also expected to witness a close contest with three candidates from the BJP — Abhay Bharadwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin — and two from the Congress — Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki — filing their nomination papers .
For the two seats in Jharkhand, the ruling JMM-Congress-RJD alliance has fielded JMM chief Shibu Soren and Shahzada Anwar of the Congress, while state BJP president Deepak Prakash is the party’s candidate.
In Rajasthan, where elections will be held to three Rajya Sabha seats, the Congress has nominated AICC general secretary KC Venugopal and state general secretary Neeraj Dangi, whereas the BJP has named Rajendra Gehlot as its candidate. and its senior leader Omkar Singh Lakhawat is also in the fray.
The ruling YSR Congress is expected to comfortably bag all the four seats in Andhra Pradesh, given its strength of 151 in the 175-member assembly. Though the TDP stands no chance of winning as it has only 23 MLAs it nevertheless chose to field one candidate.
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