Six candidates in the fray for Rajya Sabha polls from West Bengal

Six candidates in the fray for Rajya Sabha polls from West Bengal

Six candidates in the fray for Rajya Sabha polls from West Bengal

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on March 11 approved ten names to contest for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections.

With the bitter experience of the nail-biting contest for the three Rajya Sabha seats in August a year ago, both the BJP and Congress might have avoided the risk of cross-voting by keeping the extra candidates in the fray.

With a total of 122 MLAs plus the support of 15 others from allied parties and Independents, the BJP could get three candidates elected, but even with support from other non-BJP legislators and the possibility of transfer of extra votes from the Shiv Sena, its prospects of getting a fourth candidate elected seemed bleak.

The Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was today elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. While the BJP has 99 MLAs, the Congress lays claim to 77. "And once Congress's candidate fails to secure the quota, counting goes for second preference and we can put all our 122 second preference votes in favour of Rahatkar", said a senior BJP leader.

Altogether seven candidates are in the fray from the state where polling will be held for four seats. The JD (S) that has repeated its businessman candidate B M Farooq is severely short of votes (44 is required for each nomination) to nominate him. The scrutiny of papers was done on March 13 and all the papers were found in order.

The Congress and the RLD have already announced support to the BSP candidate for Rajya Sabha berth. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in June 2009 and was against re-elected in 2010.

Apprehending that nomination papers of its tribal candidate Naranbhai Rathwa may be declared invalid due to lack of proper documents, the Congress had asked retired bureaucrat and Dalit leader P K Valera to file his nomination as an independent nominee. The Chief Minister said her election to Rajya Sabha will enhance the strength of Chhattisgarh in the Parliament. "There were five candidates for five seats".

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