The names were released after Congress president approved the list for the March 23 Rajya Sabha polls. Mansukh Mandavia, minister of state for road transport and highways, and shipping, chemicals and fertilizers; and Parshottam Rupala, minister of state for panchayati raj, agriculture and farmers welfare filed their nominations for the Rajya Sabha on Monday. In total, 14 candidates have nominated for the biennial polls.
From Haryana, the party has made a decision to put up Lt. Gen. (retd) D.P. Vats, a former director and commandant of the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, who was earlier seen as close to Bhupinder Singh Hooda's Congress government in the state.
However, the entry of Valera, a former IAS officer and current general secretary of the Gujarat Congress, has made the elections interesting.
A senior Congress MLA, on the condition of anonymity, said, "The party may have other national-level equations in mind, but there is no point in humiliating us in front of the TMC, which has tried to destroy the Congress in the state by poaching on our leaders and MLAs". With a larger party now backing him, Rajeev Chandrasekhar plans to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision in Karnataka. However, leaders of both the BJP and the Congress denied that Mulani was associated with them.
The first was that he was NDA convener for the Kerala unit and the party was eyeing that state next after its victory in the north east states. Additionally, by-election will be held to elect one member from Kerala after the resignation of JD (U) lawmaker Veerendra Kumar, who quit after party president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA fold in December previous year.
Others who have been named in the list are Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Harnath Singh Yadav, and Kanta Kardam. In Rajasthan, the party has fielded Kirori Lal Meena, who has been in and out of the BJP, and RSS man Madan Lal Saini.
Seven candidates, including Valera and Rana, have filed nominations for four seats falling vacant from the state, for which elections will be held on March 23. Both leaders belong to the Bundelkhand region, which could be significant in the assembly polls later this year.
"The BJP, which has 122 MLAs, is barely in a position to get three candidates elected but the fourth has been brought in with a sinister design", a Congress source said.
Ketkar has been nominated from Maharashtra and Porika Balram Naik from Telangana.
The RJD has fielded its spokespersons Manoj Jha and Ashfaque Kareem.