A straight contest is in the offing between the BJP and the Congress for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Chhattisgarh as the candidates of both the parties stayed put today, which was the last day for withdrawal of nominations.
The candidates who have now made it to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat include Union ministers Purushottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia from BJP and former Union minister of state for railways Naran Rathwa and Ami Yagnik from Congress.
Three candidates each from National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and RJD led Grand Alliance had filed their nomination papers for six seats falling vacant on April 02 paving the way for election of all six candidates unopposed to Rajya Sabha.
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BJP took up this issue with the Election Commission through senior party leaders and sought disqualification of the Congress candidate's bid to contest Upper House polls.
Political sources revealed that after it became clear the ruling ally Shiv Sena was unlikely to spare its extra 20 votes to enable Rahatkar's election, the BJP decided against taking a risk and withdrew her candidature. In the house of 182 legislators, BJP has a strength of 99 against the opposition Congress party's 77. The minimum first preference votes required by a candidate was 37.
"Maharashtra State Commission for Women chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar has withdrawn from the fray", the state's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat said.
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Fortunately for the Congress, its nominee Rathwa's papers were found to be valid ensuring that he remained in the fray as its official candidate. While the party has comfortable numbers to elect two of its candidates, it is dependent on the support of JD (S) rebel MLAs and independent candidates to elect its third candidate.
The candidates elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra this time are BJP's Narayan Rane, Prakash Javadekar and Kerala leader V Muralidharan.
Rane quit the Shiv Sena in 2005 and later joined the Congress. The BJP, with its tally of 122 in the Assembly, is poised to get three RS seats now, while the Sena, the Congress and the NCP will get one each.
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