Rajya Sabha polls: BJP to strengthen grip over Parliament, Congress' Ahmed Patel might lose in Gujarat

Even as the Rajya Sabha awaits the election of its next ex-officio Chairperson, the composition of the Upper House is itself due for changes as political parties jostle for seats. Multiple states will send their representatives to the Centre as seats fall vacant in the Rajya Sabha. The election for their replacements will be held on 8 August.

Gujarat

BJP president Amit Shah will make his debut in Parliament after he was nominated as the party's candidate to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. Shah is currently a legislator in the Gujarat Assembly but given the strength the BJP enjoys in the state, he will soon become a fixture in the Parliament.

Three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat have fallen vacant.

The Rajya Sabha. Reuters

The Parliament. Reuters

Union textile minister Smriti Irani, who is already a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, has been re-nominated.

Also filing his nomination from Gujarat is Congress President Sonia Gandhi's political secretary and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel. While his election is far from certain after the cross-voting seen in the Presidential election and the departure of veteran leader Shankersinh Vaghela from the party, the Congress is confident of his victory as it is counting on support from the NCP and the JDU.

Another development has however shifted the balance of the race as three Congress MLAs — Balwantsinh Rajput (Sidhpur), Tejashree Patel (Viramgam) and Prahlad Patel (Vijapur) — quit the party and joined the BJP, reports The Indian Express. The BJP immediately declared Rajput as their candidate for the third Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat.

The election for the third seat has thus become one to watch for as a BJP clean sweep would mean another blow to the Congress in addition to the embarrassment of one of its senior leaders losing their seat in the Parliament.

West Bengal

The surprising news from the Left was that CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury would not be nominated for a third consecutive term after the central committee made a decision to that effect. The decision was the product of a deeply divided central committee which deliberated on the contentious issue for nearly four hours. One of the reasons for the decision was that the CPM would have had to take Congress' support to get Yechury back to the Rajya Sabha

Another move which raised eyebrows was when Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress offered to support Congress' Meira Kumar for a seat from West Bengal. The Indian Express has reported that the Congress will nominate sitting MP Pradeep Bhattacharya as its candidate and look to the TMC to support his candidature.

The Trinamool Congress has recommended five of its members — Derek O'Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Dola Sen, Manas Bhunia and Shanta Chhetri — for five of the six seats from the state.

Madhya Pradesh

The BJP nominated Sampatia Uike, a woman tribal leader from Mahakoshal region in Madhya Pradesh in a by-election to the Rajya Sabha from the state. The seat had fallen vacant after the death of Union minister Anil Dave. Sampatiya will serve the remainder of Dave's term till June 2022.

Goa

Earlier in July, Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar won the sole Rajya Sabha seat from Goa, defeating his Congress counterpart and sitting Member of Parliament Shantaram Naik. Tendulkar polled 22 votes, while Naik bagged 16 votes in the election held at the state Assembly complex on Friday, in which all the 38 state legislators voted.

With inputs from agencies


Published Date: Jul 28, 2017 12:39 pm | Updated Date: Jul 28, 2017 12:39 pm


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