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Javadekar, Shanta Kumar in BJP list for Rajya Sabha seats

Neena Vyas

Party’s election panel has left the decision on surplus votes to Rajnath Singh

— Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

BJP president Rajnath Singh with senior leaders L. K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, M.Venkaiah Naidu and V.K. Malhotra at an election committee meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

NEW DELHI: After a marathon four-hour meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s central Election Committee, 14 names were cleared for the Rajya Sabha from nine States. but two prominent journalists, Prabhu Chawla and M.J. Akbar, were not accommodated. The former External Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh, who was also hoping to get a “yes” from the BJP has not been given the green signal.

The lone seat from Himachal Pradesh will go to former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar as promised in return for his cooperation when the party decided to project Prem Kumar Dhumal as the Chief Minister in the run-up to Assembly polls in this hill State.

The candidate for the only seat from Maharashtra is party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.

Consensus choice

From Rajasthan, the party’s nominees by total consensus were the new state party president Om Mathur and sitting MP Gyan Prakash Pilania. From Gujarat, the three seats the BJP is in a position to get will go to State president Purushottam Rupala, State general secretary Bharat Singh and a backward caste functionary Nattuji Halaji Thakur.

The two Chief Ministers, Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and Narendra Modi of Gujarat, presented their views before the Election Committee chaired by party president Rajnath Singh and attended by Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani, besides other members.

From Bihar, the name for the lone seat that would go to the BJP is former Union Minister C.P. Thakur. This is expected to make the former cine star Shatrughan Sinha quite unhappy. Some surplus votes from the party could go to a nominee of the Lok Jan Shakti Party, Ranjan Yadav, described as a “sworn enemy” of Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad.

A senior BJP leader said: “We are in the market with 14 surplus votes, let us see what happens.” At the formal level, the Election Committee left the decision on surplus votes to Rajnath Singh.

The only journalist who has made it to the BJP’s list is sitting MP Balbir Punj, who has been accommodated for the lone seat from Orissa.

For the single seat from Chhattisgarh, the nomination is going to a former Minister Shiv Pratap Singh. For the three seats from Madhya Pradesh that the party can ensure a smooth victory, the committee has decided to once again nominate Maya Singh and give the other two to Raghunandan Sharma and an RSS functionary in the party’s central office, Prabhat Jha.

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