Smriti Irani of the saas-bahu serial fame is one of the two names finalised by the Bharatiya Janata Party for election to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

The party's central election committee, which met under the chairmanship of BJP president Nitin Gadkari here on Saturday, decided on Ms. Irani and Dilip Pandya to contest in the vacancies that will occur mid-August, when Surendra Motilal Patel and Pravin Naik retire.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Ms. Irani lost to Congress leader Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk in Delhi. More recently, she was given charge of the BJP's women's cell. Of course, she is better known as the traditional and long-suffering bahu (daughter-in-law) in the hit television serial, Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, and the party views her as a crowd-puller and effective campaigner.

Mr. Pandya is an old party worker from the Jana Sangh times.

The election committee meeting was attended by L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

In the Congress camp, the Rajya Sabha term of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel (Gujarat) is also coming to an end, but he is to be given the berth once again.

The election to fill these three vacancies is expected to take place on July 22.

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