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

Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav with Jaya Bachchan

The BJP on Sunday announced the names of 18 candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections, after a meeting of the party's Central Election Committee.

With 14 candidates, from Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other bigwigs to an independent, entering the fray for ten vacant Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh, a contest to the Parliaments Upper House became imminent today.

The ruling Congress in Karnataka can easily win two seats and meets few extra votes for the third seat. There seems to be a fight between Congress's third candidate and Farooq. It also expects support of MLAs from smaller parties- B R Patil (KJP), B Nagendra (independent) and Ashok Kheny (KMP), who have recently joined the Congress. The last date to withdraw is March 15. Union Ministers Purushottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia of the BJP filed their nominations from Gujarat.

BJP strategists are eyeing disgruntled elements in Samajwadi Party and BSP along with the Congress in order to facilitate its ninth candidate to win.

Former CM Rabri Devi accompanied the two party candidates for filing the nominations. "We are hopeful of winning all three sears", said Congress leader Paresh Dhanani, who is the leader of Opposition in the state assembly. Pradhan is a sitting Rajya Sabha member from Bihar.

BJP's resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh over a year ago has helped it secure seven seats. A byelection is being held to one seat in Kerala.

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The RJD has nominated its national spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha and owner of a private medical college, Ashfaq Karim, while the Congress is eyeing the sixth seat with RJD support.

Sameer Uranv is the BJP candidate from Jharkhand, Kailash Soni and Ajay Pratap Singh (both Madhya Pradesh), Kirori Lal Meena and Madan Lal Saini (both Rajasthan), and Lt Gen (retd) DP Vats from Haryana.

K. Valera, a former bureaucrat, who threw his hat in the ring at the last minute due to technical hitches with Rathwa's candidature.

The party nominated three candidates from Karnataka, including Dalit poet L. Hanumanthaiah and Vokkalinga leader G.C. Chandrasekhar.

The candidates include Abhishek Manu Singhvi from West Bengal, senior journalist Kumar Ketkar from Maharashtra and former Union Minister Naranbhai Rathwa.

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