The Congress is likely to send former party chief Sonia Gandhi to the Rajya Sabha, leading to speculation whether another member from the Nehru-Gandhi family might step in her shoes to contest the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat that she has represented since 2004.
Congress leaders met at party president Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence to discuss the names of candidates for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for February 27. Elections will be held for 56 seats from 15 states. February 15 is the last date for filing nominations.
Congress sources said Gandhi could contest from Rajasthan while the party might field treasurer Ajay Maken from Himachal Pradesh. Others likely to get Congress party nominations include Abhishek Manu Singhvi, whose term from West Bengal ends in April. Three seats are falling vacant from Rajasthan, of which the Congress should win one, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to win two.
The BJP announced two candidates from Rajasthan on Monday, dropping Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, who is likely to contest the Lok Sabha elections. The vacancies from Rajasthan are because of the retirement of former PM Manmohan Singh, BJP’s Yadav and Kirodi Lal Meena, who quit the Upper House after he was elected to the Rajasthan Assembly. With the retirement of BJP President J P Nadda, one seat is vacant from Himachal Pradesh, which the Congress is set to bag.
Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly Tika Ram Jully urged the Congress leadership to announce Sonia Gandhi’s candidature from Rajasthan. Gandhi debuted in the Lok Sabha in 1999, winning an election from Karnataka’s Bellary and Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, retaining the latter. In 2004, she shifted to Rae Bareli seat, while her son, Rahul Gandhi, contested the Amethi seat. However, she quit over an office-of-profit controversy and got re-elected in a bypoll in 2006. Earlier, Feroze Gandhi and Indira Gandhi had represented Rae Bareli.
On Monday, the BJP announced two candidates from Rajasthan for the Rajya Sabha polls, dropping outgoing MP and Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, who could contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. From Rajasthan, the BJP fielded its tribal leader, Chunnilal Garasiya and former legislator and other backward class leader Madan Rathore.
The BJP announced its first list of 14 candidates for the RS elections on Sunday evening, dropping Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar from Karnataka, who could contest the Lok Sabha polls.