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BJP Ensures Ashok Chavan Will Be in Rajya Sabha From Maharashtra, Leaves Out Many of Its Own

Another defector, Milind Deora, has been nominated by the Shiv Sena (Shinde). The BJP’s president, J.P. Nadda, is set to be a Gujarat MP in the Rajya Sabha.
Ashok Chavan. Photo: X/@AshokChavanINC

New Delhi: The former Congress chief minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, who had recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was fielded as one of the party’s candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

When Chavan resigned from the Congress, it was widely expected that he would be given a national role by the BJP.

In a similar move, the Shiv Sena (Shinde), led by Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, also fielded former Congress MP Milind Deora for the Rajya Sabha poll.

Deora had recently ended his family’s decades-old association with the Congress and joined the Shinde-led Shiv Sena, which is perceived as the Deora family’s biggest political opponent in Mumbai.

The Rajya Sabha elections have become an opportunity for all parties to accommodate leaders in parliament well ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Some of them are new faces and some others are old, while some were rewarded for their significant organisational roles.

The BJP nominated multiple leaders from the Sangh parivar, while regional parties rewarded some of their young faces who have remained loyal despite facing electoral losses.

Interestingly, in the first list of candidates that the BJP released, nine Union ministers whose terms in the upper house were ending this April were absent.

Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, environment minister Bhupender Yadav, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, small and medium enterprises minister Narayan Rane and others like L. Murugan and Purushottam Rupala were missing from the list.

However, Murugan was nominated from Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday (February 14), while railways, communications and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw filed his nomination from Odisha after the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) decided to support him again for the Rajya Sabha.

Junior IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar was not re-nominated from his Karnataka seat, with the BJP instead choosing to field the Hindutva leader Narayana Bhandage.

Speculation is rife that most of the Union ministers who have not been re-nominated for the elections will now be fielded for the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP president J.P. Nadda, whose term also ends in April, was re-nominated not from his home state of Himachal Pradesh, but from Gujarat.

Barring Sudhanshu Trivedi, none of the nine outgoing BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh, which has the highest number of vacancies at ten seats, was renominated, which means leaders like Anil Jain, Anil Agarwal and G.V.L. Narsimha Rao will be given other roles, mostly in the organisation.

However, the saffron party accommodated former Congress leader R.P.N. Singh, another turncoat who switched camps in 2022, from its UP tally.

Other leaders were also nominated as part of the BJP’s rainbow social representation formula – Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, Sadhna Singh, Amarpal Maurya, Sangeeta Balwant and Naveen Jain are some of the leaders who will be representing UP for their party in the Rajya Sabha.

The Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, renominated actress-politician Jaya Bachchan and fielded new faces like former bureaucrat-turned-party advisor Alok Ranjan and party leader and former Lok Sabha MP Ramji Lal Suman as its choices.

The nomination of Bachchan and Ranjan has ruffled many of the party’s leaders like Swami Prasad Maurya and Pallavi Patel, who believe that the Rajya Sabha elections should have been used to nominate leaders from backward and Dalit communities.

In eastern India, Odisha’s three seats are likely to be filled by the ruling BJD’s Debashish Samantray, a senior BJD leader who lost the last assembly polls but remained loyal to the party leadership; and young turk Subhasish Khuntia from Puri.

For the third seat from the state, the BJD has extended its support to Vaishnaw, during whose tenure as Union railways minister the state received its highest-ever investment in rail infrastructure.

In Bihar, the Janata Dal (United), which recently joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), has nominated Nitish Kumar’s close aide, Sanjay Jha, for the Rajya Sabha. He will most likely win with the support of the BJP.

Interestingly, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi has not been re-nominated and it remains to be seen whether he will be fielded for the Lok Sabha elections.

Out of the six vacant seats from Bihar, three each are held by the NDA and by the opposition parties.

Fifty-six seats spread across 15 states will be filled up in the Rajya Sabha elections on February 27. Among those retiring are 28 MPs from the BJP; 11 from the Congress; four from the Trinamool Congress; four from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi; two each from the BJD, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal (United); and one each from the YSR Congress, Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Telugu Desam Party and Sikkim Democratic Front.

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