Ahead of Rajya Sabha polls, lobbying within Congress for tickets

Manoj C G
Rajya Sabha seats elections, Rajya Sabha seats election dates, election commission, EC announces dates for RS seats polls, India news, indian express

The Congress is expected to get two seats each from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat and one each from Maharashtra and Haryana. (File photo)

From young guns to old warhorses, from local leaders to national office-bearers — the race in the Congress for the ten Rajya Sabha seats which the party is set to win in the biennial elections next month is getting interesting and intense.

Added to the mix is speculation about the possible candidature of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The Congress is expected to get two seats each from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat and one each from Maharashtra and Haryana. The Congress is also staking its claim to one of the three Rajya Sabha seats opposition parties can jointly win from Bihar. It can also win one seat in West Bengal with the help of the Left.

Explained: Where are the vacancies in Rajya Sabha, and what are next month’s elections likely to produce

Among those aspiring for tickets are AICC in-charges and general secretaries, leaders who lost in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as well as retiring MPs who are seeking yet another term, sources said. As many as 11 members of the party are retiring, including senior leaders Digvijaya Singh, Madhusudan Mistry, Kumari Selja and Motilal Vora, and almost all are seeking re-nomination.

According to sources, lobbying has begun in the party for tickets, and the names of several senior leaders like AICC general secretaries K C Venugopal and Mukul Wasnik, AICC communication department head Randeep Surjewala, AICC in-charge of Jharkhand R P N Singh and AICC in-charge of Gujarat Rajiv Satav are doing the rounds.

For the lone seat in Maharashtra, there are at least half-a-dozen aspirants, and among them are big names like Wasnik and Satav.

In Gujarat, Mistry is seeking re-nomination while top leaders like AICC in-charge of Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil, AICC general secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh Dipak Babaria, former PCC president Bharatsinh Solanki and Sagar Raika are in the running.

In Madhya Pradesh, the names of only two big leaders are doing the rounds — Digvijaya Singh, who is retiring, and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is locked in a battle with Chief Miniter Kamal Nath. The clamour to nominate AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to the Rajya Sabha from the state is seen a fallout of the Scindia-Nath tussle.

There is clamour for nominating Vadra from Rajasthan too. There also, it is seen as an extension of the Ashok Gehlot-Sachin Pilot tussle.