Other States

Rajasthan Congress, BJP looking for suitable candidates for RS polls

The Congress will need 123 first preference votes for winning three of the four Rajya Sabha seats going to polls from Rajasthan, while the BJP is certain to win one seat with its tally of 71 in the State Assembly. File

The Congress will need 123 first preference votes for winning three of the four Rajya Sabha seats going to polls from Rajasthan, while the BJP is certain to win one seat with its tally of 71 in the State Assembly. File | Photo Credit: PTI

With the nomination process for elections to four Rajya Sabha seats in Rajasthan having started on Tuesday, the ruling Congress and the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are looking for suitable candidates to be fielded amid an intense lobbying by the aspirants. Speculations were rife about the MLAs of both the parties being sent to the camps for securing their votes.

Chief Election Officer Praveen Gupta said no nomination papers were filed on the first day of the process for the biennial elections. The last date for filing of nominations is May 31, while the polls will be held on June 10. Each candidate in the State will require to have 41 first preference votes to win.

The Congress is likely to get a clear victory on two of the seats in view of its majority in the 200-member Assembly, where it has 108 seats. Of the 10 Rajya Sabha members from the State, the terms of BJP’s Om Prakash Mathur, K.J. Alphons, Ramkumar Verma and Harshvardhan Singh will end in July, necessitating the elections.

Since the Congress is likely to bag two seats and the BJP one, there will be a tough fight for the fourth seat. BJP leader Rajendra Rathore, who is the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, said the party would field two candidates, as it had 30 surplus votes, and would welcome any “unhappy MLA” from the other side willing to support its nominees. The BJP has 71 MLAs.

Eleven of the 13 independent MLAs met Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at his official residence in Jaipur on Monday evening and pledged their support to the Congress candidates. The Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which had severed ties with the Congress in 2020 over the latter blocking the election of a BTP-backed independent candidate as Zila Pramukh in Dungarpur, is yet to make its stand clear. The BTP has two members in the House.

Ability of contestants

Though several Congress leaders were camping in New Delhi to stake their claim for candidature, the ruling party is likely to consider the ability of contestants to raise the issues concerning Rajasthan in Parliament, especially because it has no representation on any of the 25 Lok Sabha seats from the State.

The Congress also faces the challenge of mollifying its MLAs who have been facing allegations in several criminal cases. Bari MLA Girraj Singh Malinga surrendered before the police in a case of assault of two government engineers, while Deputy Chief Whip Mahendra Chaudhary’s name emerged in the murder of history-sheeter Jaipal Poonia in Nagaur district’s Nawa.

Similarly, Dungarpur MLA Ganesh Ghogra sent his resignation to Mr. Gehlot in protest against a case registered against him for ‘obstructing’ public servants from discharging their duty. Besides, a rape case was registered against the son of Cabinet Minister Mahesh Joshi. No action has been taken by the party against any of them apparently in view of the coming Rajya Sabha elections.

According to the sources in Congress, the MLAs being sequestered in the camps ahead of the polls could not be refuted, as each vote would matter for the party. The Congress will need 123 first preference votes for winning three of the four seats, while the BJP is certain to win one seat with its tally of 71 in the Assembly.

The Congress’s sitting Rajya Sabha members are Manmohan Singh, Neeraj Dangi and K.K. Venugopal, while the BJP ‘s members are Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav, K.L. Meena and Rajendra Gehlot.


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Printable version | May 24, 2022 8:28:40 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rajasthan-congress-bjp-looking-for-suitable-candidates-for-rs-polls/article65457467.ece