Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls: A must-win for both Congress and BJP

Congress secures allies for Rajya Sabha polls aims to challenge BJP-led NDA in 2019 elections

Congress leader and former state minister Rajmani Patel filed his nomination in afternoon.

The biennial elections are being held to 58 Rajya Sabha seats. The party has chose to fill them up by naming Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, GVL Narasimha Rao and Harnath Singh Yadav from there. The NDA would still need 11 more and may place its hopes on engineering cross voting from Congress through former PCC president Ashok Choudhary, who joined JD (U) recently.

The BJP has already fielded union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia, while the Congress has nominated Amiben Yagnik and tribal leader Naren Rathwa.

BJP's newly nominated candidates are Anil Agarwal (educationist and industrialist of Ghaziaabad), Vidya Sagar Sonkar and Salil Vishnoi (of the party cadre).

All four seats are now represented by the BJP, including one by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has been moved to Uttar Pradesh since the party does not have adequate numbers to win all four seats this time.

BJP strategists are eyeing disgruntled elements in the Samajwadi party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BJP) along with the Congress in order to facilitate its ninth candidate to win.

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With 99 MLAs in a 182-member Assembly, the BJP can easily win two seats.

On the other side, Congress has also released the list of 10 names for Rajya Sabha.

RJD candidates Manoj Jha and Ashfaq Karim filed their nomination in the presence of the party's national vice-president Rabri Devi, state president Ram Chandra Purve and national executive member Tej Pratap Yadav. Looking at the selection of the candidates and the in-fighting that has surfaced afterwards, it is clear that there is a feeling of discontent among Congress members from their central leadership.

In Karnataka, L. Hanumanthaiah, Syed Nasir Hussain, and G.C. Chandrashekar (all Congress), Rajeev Chandrasekhar (BJP), and B.M. Farook (JD-S) filed their papers. However, the fight will be between the third candidate of the Congress and JDS's Farooq.

In Andhra Pradesh, TDP candidates C.M. Ramesh and Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar filed their nominations papers. Political observers, however, believe given their strenuous relations, it will be a herculean task for BJP leadership to convince Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to have his MLAs cast votes in its favour.

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