Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Independent Rajya Sabha Lawmaker Rajeev Chandrasekhar Joins BJP

Independent Rajya Sabha Lawmaker Rajeev Chandrasekhar Joins BJP

The BJP, however, is said to have been contemplating a ninth candidate also, something which might now face a roadblock. On Sunday, BJP released a list with 18 names, while Congress released the list with 10 names who will be contesting for the upcoming Rajya Sabha.

In Gujarat, the Congress state general secretary P K Valera staked claim as an Independent prompting the BJP to field former MLA Kiritsinh Rana as the third candidate to make things hard for the Congress. With its depleted strength of 47 MLAs in the UP Assembly, the SP can get only one member elected to Rajya Sabha.

As against 10 vacant seats from UP in Rajya Sabha, BJP had initially announced the names of eight candidates, including finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Jaitley was the first BJP candidate to file his nomination papers on Monday.

Congress All India general secretary Mohan Prakash said, "We are ready for the elections; a few independents and small parties are supporting us".

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Talking to reporters later, Prasad, Union law minister, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah for reposing their trust in him and lauded Nitish Kumar for ensuring that the NDA functioned as a team.

A BJP functionary, with knowledge about the goings-on, told TNM that Rajeev Chandrasekhar was nominated mainly as he has helped swing votes in Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts.

"They have been fielded to strengthen the BJP's base in the Vindhya and Mahakoushal areas as the state Assembly polls are due later this year", a party functionary said.

The SP's decision to field Jaya Bachchan as the party's candidate from the single seat it is likely to win led to the resignation of party veteran Naresh Agarwal from the party. Consequently, Congress has named L. Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and GC Chandrashekhar. With 122 members, the BJP can easily send three of its candidates to the Rajya Sabha. Elections to the six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra will be held on March 23. However, arithmetic favours the Congress that apparently has support from seven rebel JDS MLAs, who are expected to join the party after the Rajya Sabha polls.

BJP candidate Anil Agarwal, however, appeared confident that he will be able to mobilise additional votes as the party's ninth candidate.

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