BJP rewards spokespersons, bows to local factors in Rajya Sabha candidates' list

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The opposition Congress had some anxious moments after former Union Minister Naransinh Rathwa and party spokesperson Amee Yagnik on Monday filed their nominations as its candidates for two of the four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat.

Elections to 58-Rajya Sabha seats are scheduled for March 23, but saw much drama across the political spectrum on the last day of filing of nominations on Monday.

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

The RJD has fielded two candidates - its national spokesman Manoj Jha and Ashfaq Karim, who runs a medical college in Katihar district of the state. Three nominated members - actor Rekha, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and social worker Anu Aga - will also retire then. Consequently, Congress has named L. Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and GC Chandrashekhar. He further added that the AB form which the candidate submits with nomination form carries his signature as State President.

The JD (U)'s Sharad Yadav faction's Kerala unit president M P Veerendra Kumar filed his nomination as an Independent backed by the ruling CPM-led LDF.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, joined the fray once again from his home state Bihar, while Pradhan, minister for petroleum and natural gas, filed his papers from Madhya Pradesh.

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The BJP and the Congress have announced lists of 18 and 12 candidates respectively for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

From Haryana, the party has made a decision to put up Lt. Gen. (retd) D.P. Vats, a former director and commandant of the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, who was earlier seen as close to Bhupinder Singh Hooda's Congress government in the state. In total, for now, seven candidates will be trying for six seats.

JD (S), which had extended support to Congress in BBMP and refrained from fielding its candidate in Gundlupet by-poll to facilitate Congress victory, has fielded its candidate Farooq with a request to Congress to return the favour by not fielding the third candidate and help JD (S) to win one seat.

The Congress denied a renomination to former Union minister K Rahman Khan from Karnataka, Satyavrat Chaturvedi from MP, Rajani Patil and Rajeev Shukla from Maharashtra and former state president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu from Jharkhand.

Heading into elections, the Congress has been cautious in its steps to include all communities to key posts from the state to highlight wider representation of caste groups, hoping that these groups would back the party at the polls.