Anxious moments for Cong as Rathwa files RS nomination in Guj

RJD names Manoj Jha, Ashfaque Karim as candidates for RS polls

The Congress on Monday targeted the BJP for nominating "non-Kannadiga" Rajeev Chandrasekhar for the Rajya Sabha polls, accusing it of "consistently acting against Karnataka's interests".

With their current strength in the assembly, two candidates of the Congress and one from BJP can get elected comfortably. 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. Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Mansukh L Mandaviya and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala will contest election from Gujarat.

According to an announcement by the BJP general secretary J P Nadda here on Sunday, Mr Rane, a former Sena leader and who was also with Congress since 2005, will be BJP candidate from Maharashtra.

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The third candidate of the Congress, which has 123 members, is expected to emerge victorious with possible support from seven JD (S) rebels and a few independent Legislators. However, it is said that Rathwa, hailing from Chhotaudepur, a tribal belt, was assured Rajya Sabha ticket during 2017 assembly elections. Anxious that BJP may jump in to take advantage if the Congress nominee was knocked out, the party sought to rush Shukla to Gujarat.

The previous Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat was the first in two decades that witnessed voting. Prasad, whose current Rajya Sabha term is ending in April, expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah "for giving me this opportunity to serve the people once again". Before the announcement of the candidature, there were huge speculations and all sorts of permutation-combination among the insiders in the party and in the media. TMC chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced her party's support to Congress Rajya Sabha nominee Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Ketkar, a regular on TV news debates, filed his papers in the presence of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan. Going by this statistic, if MLAs of both the parties vote as per their party whip, both Congress and BJP are poised to win two seats each.

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